I enjoyed our church Harvest Festival tonight, with a bonfire, band, puppets, hotdogs, and hayride... and lots of costumed children. Many people came early to cook hotdogs, build a bonfire, and to set up for the band and puppets. I'm sleepy now, but full of words as usual. God still speaks to and through tired souls. The gift and the giver are accepted as one. You are your greatest gift and your gift is before you.
And a great multitude followed him,
because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
And Jesus went up into a mountain,
and there he sat with his disciples.
And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.
When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him,
he said unto Philip, Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
And this he said to test him: for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him,
Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them,
that every one of them may take a little.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said unto him,
There is a lad here,
who has five barley loaves,
and two small fishes:
but what are they among so many????????????????????????????
I wonder if the disciples wore those plastic food service gloves? No, I don't imagine they were approved by the Health Department to serve food. I'm sure no one was checking out their most current health rating score. No, the proof was in the pudding... And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles. A hungry multitude will follow you if Jesus is feeding them.
There were people who were concerned with whether or not the disciples washed their hands before they ate. Matthew 15:1-2 It appears Jesus didn't sit the boy or the disciples down to wash their hands before serving the multitudes. No, Jesus just wanted to know what they had in their hands to offer of service for the King. "
Exodus 4:1-2 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not
believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD has not
appeared unto you. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in your hand? And he
said, A rod.
God uses those who are willing. A good church is the same way, and this is one thing in particular I like about my church. But, it isn't always like that. Just ask yourself, would a prostitute or a member of a bike gang feel comfortable looking for Jesus in your church?
Proverbs 18:16 A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before
Yes, there is room in God's house for all. We are all fit for service in the Kingdom: rich and poor, wise and simple. We all wear the robes of righteousness and belonging placed on our shoulders by our Father when He accepted us back into the household and placed His ring on our fingers, and served us the feast. We are family of the King, and of value to the Father of us all. Matthew 18:3-6 talks about children in particular. If a child wants to serve God, then our job is to lead Him forward to place his gift in the hand of the Master. Jesus once responded to the critical Pharisees that they worshipped with lip service, but their hearts needed a GPS...God Positioning Satellite. They didn't know how to worship with their hearts, which were far from God. Is your heart in the right place? :)
The following is a brief early morning (7am) sharing of Revelation 19:4-16 while having my morning coffee. I hope it blesses you in some way. Have a great day!
Song of Solomon 8:13 You that dwell in the gardens, the companions listen
for your voice: let me hear it.
Who is this that hangs out in the gardens?
Mark 14:32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he
said to his disciples, Sit here, while I shall pray.
Who is it that is listening for His voice?
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Can we hear His voice?
Matthew 17:5 While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them:
and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom
I am well pleased; hear you him.
Do we really want to listen in on this conversation?
Matthew 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, You know not what you ask. Are
you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the
baptism that I am baptized with? They said unto him, We are able.
The garden speaks of communion, fellowship with Christ. But, to have fellowship with Jesus means that we partake of His cup.
What will you make of this?
Jeremiah 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any
more in his name. But his word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my
bones, and I was weary from holding it back, and I could not.
Ever asked the question, "Why am I here?" Well, here I am and there you are. For those of you who know me MORE or LESS, I've added a little more about who I am and what my purpose is in sharing with you about Jesus through my blogs. A new Audio Introduction is posted on my Blog Index page.
Have a blessed Sunday and visit church somewhere!
I have a new view on the world: listening to the birds singing in the twilight from my hammock. I love nature, and have missed being able to wander through the woods. But, I ordered a Mayan hammock from Merida Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula. Larry and Travis hung it in a wooded area of our back yard, near the tree house last week. Larry helped me get into and out of the hammock and I enjoyed relaxing in the trees while dinner was roasting in the oven this evening. I love hearing the birds singing in the twilight, and seeing the colorful Autumn leaves in the trees.
Joel 2:23 speaks of the early and latter rains. The latter rains were the rains of summer. The early rains were the Autumn rainshowers, like we experienced yesterday and the night before. Such a beautiful passage in the natural and the Spiritual sense, as it is prophetic of the early outpouring of the holy Spirit in the first century after Christ, and the latter outpouring in this age today. The Holy Ghost is given for a comfort or a rest.
Apparantly God felt Autumn was a good time for resting. Leviticus 23:24-25 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no regular work on it: but you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. This was a bonfire holiday in early Autumn, much like our harvest festivals. We are in the 8th month of the Jewish calendar right now.
Yes, it is nice to be looking up at the world around me! There aren't too many more days of Autumn beauty left. November is at the doorstep. I hope you find time to enjoy time. It is God's greatest gift.
Sometimes facing reality is just plain difficult! And, so it was apparantly for many of the fans in the visitor stands at last night's rivalry game between 2 of the 4 Floyd County High Schools; Model and Pepperell High Schools. Pepperell took the ball at the snap and before long Model made what looked like an intercept. The cheering on our side was interrupted quickly when a call was made for out of bounds. The crowd behind me turned ugly with an uproar of booing and calls to lynch the ref. I started videoing after the first few minutes or so of booing. The fans were still agitated and shouting the word "cheaters" and "go home."
This was the only time during the game this happened, and things quieted down. I heard several people cheering the coach, but missing were fans who cheered on individual players. Usually I hear different players names called out in encouragement by the fans. Maybe that was the problem. This is Model's third "losing season." They have managed to eke out a game or two each of those years, through the skin of their teeth, so to speak. The best players graduated 3 years ago. But, I could sense the underdog spirit in the stands behind me. The losing mentality has taken over. And, that must be changed before a new team can be molded.
You have to ask yourself how it happened that the younger players were never taught to play while the better players were on board. And, I for one did not enjoy the bad sportsmanship in the stands behind me. You have very young men and women out there on that field learning to fit into the world around them. If you can't cheer the players then go home. It's not about the ref or the coach. It's about the players and the cheerleaders and the band. I think the whole approach to playing football at Model needs to change. They have an excellent instructional program. Why field a team if you are not going to teach them how to win? The final score was 47-6. At least it wasn't a shut-out.
I console myself with the cheerleaders. They are some of the best in the region. I think they have a wonderful attitude in the middle of a series of losing games. They take the "stand by your men" approach and you could never tell by the cheering that they rep a losing school. They are amazingly athletic and supportive.
These pictures were taken from Model's Athletic site. They are better than my pictures at the top. The cheerleaders have champion attitudes. They act as if this is a job and they are professionals. That's amazing to me that they can keep cheering even when things go wrong. As a matter of fact, when the bad call was made they began cheering over top of the fans who were calling for the ref to be lynched. After three losing seasons, they may have just saved the life of a referee. :)
I blogged about Joshua last night. It is easy to see Joshua's winning attitude in these cheerleaders. They definitely have the spirit of champions. Too bad they can't have a winning football team. Fortunately the basketball teams win big, and basketball season starts before too long.
I had to sit in the car and listen on the radio a little after halftime because I was froze stiff and in so much pain that I couldn't hardly move this morning. But, I am fine now with a heating pad and coffee. This was the first game we made it to this season, because of my health. Fortunately, the walker has made it easier for me to get around. I have been out of the house more since I got it. You would not think that using a walker would be a good thing. But, it's all about perspective. Once you've had to sit in the house for so long, being able to get out on a walker is an improvement. So, I'm winning the game!
Joshua was a keen military commander, with an eye for strategy. He was definitely gifted at conquest! His campaigns are easy to follow in the book by his name. Joshua 10:1 is a good place to start for the record of the Southern invasion of Canaan. You see, God had promised Abraham Canaan Land for his descendents. But, it didn't come gift wrapped. God knew that the Israelites were not prepared for ownership of vast amounts of land at once. His plan was for city by city conquest.
Joshua was the right man for the job. After the Israelites had wandered for 40 years in a circular way through the desert, and God claimed the body of Moses, Joshua sent spies in to spy out the land, and especially Jericho. Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordon River, and entered Canaan from the East. This was definitely a tactical advantage, because of the distance from Philistine naval strength on the Mediterranean Sea. Then he miraclously won battles at Jericho and Ai.
The next city in the path of the Israelites was Gibeon. They resigned themselves to defeat, and tricked Joshua into making a treaty with them, so as not to suffer a certain defeat. From there, Joshua turns South and blazes a path of conquest through Canaan towards the Red Sea. All the Kings of the area tried to resist but he conquered them all with speedy marches and surprise attacks. This was an ingenious path, much like Sherman's later march to the Sea in Georgia in the Civil War. He effectively cut off the cities in the South from the cities in the North, and decimated them all one by one.
Word spread quick that a champion was on the march. Joshua's take over in the South spurred King Jabin of Hazor to recruit a massive army from the cities of the North to start a war with Joshua. But, Joshua's shock tactics demolished these armies as well. These victories were quick and decisive, but by no means total conquest. Small pockets of resistance had to be overcome with continuing guerilla warfare. These two campaigns were the foundation for the nation of Israel, but conquest was in no way complete by the time the book of Judges began.
The incomplete conquest of Canaan and the worship of foreign gods caused the young Israelite nation many problems in the time of the Judges. And, as you can see, they are still engaged in guerilla warfare today. The point of the story is that God had instructed them to conquer Canaan and totally drive out the inhabitants, which they never really did. The treaty with the Gibeonites should have never happened. And, they quit conquering way to soon. When Joshua died, his sword must have been buried with him.
God never intended for his children to be fighting small battles day by day. He meant for us to conquer and live victoriously. Christians are warriors. We were created to overcome this world, because we are the children of Light. John 12:36, Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5 Light always overcomes the darkness. John 1:5 says that the light of God shined in the darkness and the darkness could not overcome the light.
Joshua was more than likely born in slavery in Egypt. He was a young soldier under Moses when the spies first spied out Canaan and all but two returned with a bad report. These two, Joshua and Caleb were still around 40 years later to lead the armies of the living God into victorious battle. Moses may have been a Prince of Egypt (adopted) but Joshua was nothing more than a runaway slave, just like the other Israelites. There was nothing inside of these warriors that made them special beyond the power of God.
And, that my friend, is where you and I come into this picture. We are just like Joshua. We just need to unsheath our swords and take the land, for it is before us and God gives us the victory. Go ahead, take it... it's yours!
Some things are worth it. But, not all things. I was teaching in a small poor county, which benefited me because my student loans were cancelled for service in high needs areas. But they went bankrupt at the end of the school year, that year. My boys were small enough that Travis was in Day Care and Matt in cub scouts. I was informed on payday that, not only was my pay only 1/10 of my monthly salary, but I was out of a job and would only get 1/10 for the next two paydays as well. The same day the rent was due of course. This was a hard thing. I was young, though and accustomed to taking care of myself. Me and the boys packed everything in my car, and on top of it, and drove two trips across state to move in with my Mother for the summer, until I could find another job. This was an even harder thing.
I set up the boys' top bunk only, like a loft, with my queensize bed under it at a right angle, in her one small spare bedroom in a trailer. The beds filled the room to the door. Most of everything else went in a rented storage building. You do what you have to do. The boys loved it. I put in teaching applications. Meanwhile, I continued with life as normal, and read my children bedtime stories, signed them up for little league, and took Matt to Scouts and Karate. We were reading "The Red Badge of Courage." I had delayed reading one night for some reason, but had promised I would finish the book that weekend. But, then I got a phone call and a job offer in another school. I needed to meet with the principal immediately. This meant postponing the book another night for the trip back across state. But, I got the job. I finished the book Sunday instead.
I had no time to find a house before orientation and preplanning work started. I stayed in a hotel the first week, but my money was dwindling fast. So, I slept in my car for a week while I worked, and looked for a house to rent in the evenings. I took showers at a truck stop. It was a hard time, before cell phones. I couldn't even use my alarm clock, so I parked in areas where there was enough traffic to wake me early, if you can really sleep in a car. But, I was determined I was going to make it through and claim the job. I found a house and my Mom moved in with me and the boys, and Travis started Kindergarden. I had finished reading the book, but that was one of those things that Matt always remembered, that I had broken my promise in his mind, because I didn't do it on time.
I really had no choice because my ex-husband continued to refuse to pay child support at that time. His mother had always told me he couldn't afford to pay it. I was going through the state Child Support Recovery office, which takes time. But, immediately after I got the job, and we moved, the state of Georgia passed a new law that a parent would have his driver's license pulled if he was in arrears on support payments. So, the support check for $112.00 a month started, along with an extra $248.00 each month until the arrearage for the last few years was caught up. Social Security also gave them $44.00 apiece each month. This really made life easier.
I always believed I made the right choices. This side of eternity you never really know. Its hard to say whether I made the best choice. I was doing what I could in my situation. I was trying to take care of my family. If you've ever read the book, The Red Badge of Courage, you remember that the soldier was wondering at the beginning if he would be courageous in the face of battle. Then, he acts cowardly and abandons his men when the fighting begins. Later, he sees wounded men with "red badges of courage," which is the blood they shed, and he realizes that it is worth it to him to be courageous. So, he starts looking for his men. On the way to rejoin them, he passes some Confederate fighting men and is hit in the head with a rifle butt. When he returns to his men and they see the head wound, they assume he was wounded in the first battle, and that he has found his way back to fight again. It is presumed that his is a red badge of courage. The mistaken pride gives him courage to be what he already is in their eyes, like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then, in the next battle, he leaps across a fence while they are held off, and leads a victorious charge of courage against the enemy.
The point of the story is that fear is often linked inexplicably with courage. But, courage is doing what needs to be done in spite of your fear. I believe that I was courageous when I pushed for child support, while my mother-in-law, and my Pastor thought that I should "just accept that he wasn't going to pay and move on." I was courageous when I worked to support my children alone. I was courageous when I slept in my car to take a job, and when I continued to read them bedtime stories and take them to sports and scouts while unemployed. But, more than this, I was courageous when I accepted my son's misplaced anger, and loved him anyways.
There are people around us who are "everyday heros." We easily see that a soldier is a hero. But, do we see a pastor who cleans a church toilet as a hero? Do we see the single Dad raising his children alone as a hero? Do we see the drug addict who signs himself up for rehab as a hero? Look around yourself and identify the deeds that make you courageous. Face your fear, don't deny it. Then realize that you are not a coward because of your moments of fear. But, it is your moments of victory over those fears that make you courageous. If you did what needed to be done, in the face of fear, you are a hero. This is what God put us on this earth for; to face our circumstances, to come against them instead of bowing to them like cowards, and to praise Him in the midst of our circumstances.
I never regretted anything I did. Instead, I felt courageous. Some things are worth it. Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and
shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Psalms 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth
me beside the still waters.
Both passages are parables where we play the part of sheep in God's fold. But, in John, we see that Jesus is the only entrance into God's fold. The newer verse shows the fulfillment of the older verse. This lends so many figures of speech and metaphoric comparisons of our relationship with Jesus. If Jesus is our Shepherd, then we can turn to Him for all our needs. The Shepherd provides food and shelter from storms, as well as security from predators. All the sheep need do is eat and follow. This makes a beautiful picture of peace for the Christian, as part of the flock.
The following is a brief early morning sharing of Psalm 139:1-12 while having my morning coffee. I hope it blesses you in some way. Have a great day!