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Deuteronomy 33:1-29
As I read this passage on the blessings bestowed on the tribe of Levi,
9 The Levites obeyed your word
and guarded your covenant. They were more loyal to you
than to their parents, relatives, and children.
I immediately thought of the Words of Jesus we read recently, like yesterday,

Luke 12:
49"I have come to bring fire to the earth, and I wish that my task were already completed! 50There is a terrible baptism ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to bring strife and division! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against--or the other way around. 53 There will be a division between father and son, mother and daughter, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law."

When you chose to follow God you will be at odds with your friends and family members even those who go to “church.” But in Moses’ blessing to the tribe of Levi it is clear there is a reward for choosing God and obeying His covenant, His Word.

Deut. 33:12 …"The people of Benjamin are loved by the LORD
and live in safety beside him. He surrounds them continuously
and preserves them from every harm."

The tribe of Benjamin would give Israel her first king, Saul, and although, rejected by God because of disobedience, they would remain faithful to the tribe of Judah once Israel is torn in two after the death of Solomon.

Deut. 33:7 …O LORD, hear the cry of Judah
and bring them again to their people. Give them strength to defend their cause;
help them against their enemies!"

Judah would give birth to Israel’s second and greatest earthly king, David and be the line Jesus the Messiah, would enter the world. Genesis 49: 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, [Or until tribute is brought to him and the peoples obey; traditionally rendered until Shiloh comes.] the one whom all nations will obey
Luke 13:1-21

Mike to “repent” means to change direction, to turn 1800 in lifestyle, thinking and beliefs. Your other question, “Have you repented?” Based on lifestyle choices, yes; based on my way of thinking, yes; based on my beliefs, as well as values, yes! Today, while doing my laundry in the Laundromat a woman I just know by face said something to me that has not yet sank in she said, I’ve been seeing you for years and I know that God has blessed you because your face, hair and entire body reflect that you have changed and given yourself over to God.” I was speechless.
My desire for everyone on this site to be so infused with the Love of Christ, to be so infused with God’s Word that everyone around you will know that you have been with Jesus. They may all not like it but the evidence will demand that Jesus’ name will be evoked when they see you.

I read Bob Deffinbaugh’s linked article, A Problem of Perspective, and found it wonderful.

Today’s passage has one of my favorite Parables, the Unproductive Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9). In fact I wrote a Bible Study on this parable that caused a big commotion. It seems that a lot of the guys (I lead a study where the majority of members of the group were homeless, drug/alcohol addicted men) became convicted, no ashamed, of their behavior and began calling the owner (God) of the vineyard, mean, cruel and impatient. They clearly identified themselves with the non-producing fig tree that was about to be cut down. Some of these guys had been attending this study for years and years and never were challenged to look at their lives and make changes. When I began teaching, and I was only there for four years, I began to hold them accountable for their behavior and stop accepting their justifications for their behavior as excuses. I was even accused of bringing “Holy” things into the study, which momentarily stunned me; however, after I recovered I said, “Well, this is a church.

When you fertilize the ground, forgive my lack of expertise as a city dweller, it seems to me that you do violent things to the ground: soil is turned over by sticking sharp implements into the soil to loosen it. You disturb all the little critters living in the soil and disrupt their tiny homes. I’m not sure about this but the roots might be disturbed as you give them a wake up call by all the movement of the soil. The status quo of the soil is shaken up and that is what I saw with these guys as they clearly became agitated with the study. This is the same agitation that Jesus caused as we went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38) I made no apologies for the study and I told all those with hurt feelings that I was not sorry that they felt uncomfortable and I hoped they would rethink their life. Although my words were firm and unrelenting, inside doubts ran through my mind as I thought, “Was this the right thing?”

A year to eighteen months latter, I was getting on a Subway train on a line I don’t normally ride. A man I didn’t recognize called my name. As I puzzled over who this could be, he said, “I’m Mario from All Angels.” I was stunned. Here was the man that was the most agitated, the one who said, “How dare you teach a lesson on Holy Things!” standing before me in his right mind. I had not seen him ever since that ‘lively” night in the church and my how he had changed. He was clean-shaven, well dressed and had a glow about him. He thanked me over and over again. Even-though he had walked out of that study he had been confronted by the parable and had made a decision to change his life. He was clean and sober and he stated proudly that he had reconnected with a daughter who was now fourteen after ten years with no contact. Here was a fig tree that had begun producing fruit.

Any doubts I had that night after teaching this parable all disappeared from the recesses of my mind. God is good and His mercy endures forever.

That is why I will always have a special place in my heart for this Parable of the Unproductive Fig Tree. I know that everyone will not produce because even in this story nothing is said of the state of the tree. But even when a tree is cut down, from the stump a productive plant can still rise.

I also have another perspective of the saying, “Let Go and Let God.”

Psalm 78:65-72
This Psalm is talking about a leadership change in Israel, Joseph to Judeah. And continues to mirror the Old Testament reading, Hmmm!

Proverbs 12:25
“25Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.”

Worrying will take you out (kill you). It doesn’t add anything to the situation but negativity. Worrying is a substitution for prayer and a sorry one at that. And even when we pray and give things over to God, when we get up off of our knees, back, face or whatever position is used, we go back to the alter where we just laid down our problem and take it back up again. STOP THAT! What we fail to take into account is God’s solution, which is better than ours may not be what we thought of. One of the very best things that has ever happened to me, I got laid off of a job. God began dealing with me and I wound up in college. I was a high school drop-out without even a GED. But God worked out favor as I took a chance from a Word I heard in my sprit to take a placement exam on the way back from the unemployment office. The rest is history. The answer I had figured out in my own head for the prayer I prayed was not the one I received.

By the way I graduated from the Jr. College as Valedictorian (that was a big surprise to me) was awarded my GED by the State of NY under a program called 24 credits, which I latter found out that 85% of the people who went that route failed; then when on to a four year college. If I had had those numbers before my journey, I would have been to afraid to try. Sort of like the 10 spies who brought back the bad report and the two who believed. I would have been with the 10 spies.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

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