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June 2017

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I Kings 18:1-46
Very interesting that this Challenge, what Mike calls the WWF Championship, to the prophets of Baal, and Baal’s cohort, Asherah, was the challenge of who had control of the water. Baal means “master” or “owner” {"Baal." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.} and is associated with rain. Elijah had told Ahab in chapter seventeen there would be no rain for several years as per the Word of the Lord, so God was declaring that He was in charge not Baal. The whole alter, challenge thing takes on a completely new light for me with that little bit of information I found out about Baal. As the prophets danced, cajoled, begged Baal to set their offering on fire, they were asking Baal to do what they claimed he controlled. “Baal put your money where your mouth is!” Oops Baal had no mouth he is a rock or piece of wood.

Now when Elijah got ready to do his thing by preparing the alter he was going to use, that pouring of water over the offering until it pulled up in the trenches was a slap in the face to Baal. But when the fire came down and burnt up the offering, rocks, and lapped up the water, God was saying, “I’m more than enough to defeat Baal,” He humiliated the puny god they served.

Of the things I see in this is that we don’t have to jump up and down, cry, beg, scream and holler for God to do what He says He will do. If we speak the Word of the Lord, which is settled in heaven, God keeps His Word. In fact I believe if we find ourselves shouting, begging, stomping and cutting to try to get God’s attention maybe we better check the god we are calling on and/or the Word we are claiming that God spoke.

Acts 11:1-30
The proof of the Gospel’s effect is changed lives despite what we want to believe. It’s amazing how we stand in judgement of others and their relationship to the Gospel. I don’t’ think we have a hard time believing that God changes lives; we accept that. What we have a hard time believing is that God will change the lives of people we don’t like for whatever reasons we may harbor. Funny but God never comes and asks our opinion on who he should grant salvation too. I know He hasn’t asked me yet. I guess we have to learn to “just get over” it.

It’s funny but every time I think about the Apostle Paul I’m reminded of a reformed cigarette smoker especially one who had a three-four pack a day habit. They become like ravenous wolves when chastising people who smoke in their face, or around babies, or around anything. In New York City smoking in banned all over the place so folks have to hang out in the streets and hang off the balcony to pick up some nicotine.
Psalm 135:1-21
Talk about idols and false gods, this Psalm hits the idols and their worshipers’ right between the eyes with their uselessness.

15 Their idols are merely things of silver and gold,
shaped by human hands.

16 They cannot talk, though they have mouths,
or see, though they have eyes!

17 They cannot hear with their ears
or smell with their noses.

18 And those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

That eighteenth verse says to me in Ramona’s translation or paraphrase, “You are what you worship.” Sooooo, if what ever we have, I have, in front of me that I put my trust in other than God, I become. Yikes!!

Proverbs 17:12-13

I’m feeling Mike’s comments on verse thirteen about evil not leaving one’s house when good is repaid by evil, but I think that verse thirteen sits under verse twelve, meeting a bear with her cubs is safer than confronting a fool caught in his folly. I think that they are connected because one would have to be a fool to pay good with evil. Choices and decisions affect not only the person who is in control of the choice, but there is also a ripple effect upon everyone around them even strangers: the “fool” who drives under the influence and kills not only himself/herself but also innocent bystanders who happen to be on the road with him/her.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

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