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How many times have I been upset about losing some pigs and not joined heaven in rejoicing over the deliverance of a soul? I wanted to condemn the people from the Gadarene area, but recognized that I might have responded the same way.

I too have been blessed by God in renewing my life, my health, my marriage, my family and new friendships. The verses in Proverbs remind me that it wasn't luck or change in fortune, but suggest these blessings are a result of fearing God. I really enjoy Michael W. Smith's new song: "Healing Rain". It acknowledges that God is active in touching, healing and restoring our lives - in all aspects.

Rejoicing in Him,

I read the Proverbs reading shortly after getting back an essay on Jeremiah with a pleasingly high mark - I'm a Bible college student - and it brought me up short. It's very well feeling good about being able to analyse the character of Jeremiah, but if I'm not applying what I've learnt to my own life, then I'm only "wise in my own eyes".

And the same goes for the Bible readings I do each day. It's very pleasurable to think about what they mean, but do we have the faith to use the wisdom, and live the message we're getting from them, which brings us back to what Mike writes about Matthew today.

It's a challenge for me, and maybe some of the rest of you too.

In Him,

Genesis 24:52-26:16

Chapters 25 and 26 are what have captured my attention. Rebekah, in chapter 25, after not being able to conceive for twenty years becomes pregnant with twins who are warring in her womb. When asked by Rebekah what is happening two her, God informs her that there are two-nations in her womb, two different people from the same answered prayer. Two peoples who would be at odds with each other. We stress within our society that there should be nothing stronger than a family bond, however, already we have seen that the first murder was brother attaching brother, husband willing to sacrifice his wife’s virtue, for his on safety, twice. We now see that before they were even out of the womb, brother fights against brother and God says they will be two-nations, same mother, same father. Family is important but do we have the right understanding of what family is? What and who did Jesus say was his family, his mother, father, sister and brother?

Latter own in this chapter, 25, we see the values of these two brothers, Esau and Jacob; however the text always list Jacob first, and those two divergent values may be the key that begins the divide that gives birth to two nations. Esau valued the immediate and Jacob understood the value of the future, the birthright: the right of the first-born. Esau placed more value on filling his empty stomach, than the importance of an inheritance. What I find fascinating is that the hunter, Esau, traded a pot of stew, meat, while bringing back an animal from the hunt!

Esau seems to be described in Proverbs 12:27 in the NIV, 27 The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions.

This “lazy” is not the kind of laziness that we think of, someone not doing anything; it does takes energy and effort to hunt. The writer in Proverbs seems to be saying that one is lazy when we devalued his possessions. Esau devalued a most prized possession, the rights of the first-born. What prized possession have I sold away because I didn’t value what I should have valued. How many people reject salvation because they don’t understand its value?

In chapter 26 we see Isaac repeating the behavior of his father, Abraham. He tells Rebekah to say, “She is my sister,” out of fear that he will be killed because someone will want to take beautiful Rebekah from him. Either he does this to the same Abimelech that his father deceived, or this is a different king with the same name. If this is the same king that Abraham tricked and the one who received a death notice from God, imagine what he is thinking about father and son, and they God they serve?

How does the God I serve appear to others when they see me? Am I a fragrance releasing the sweet smell of a righteous walking Christian, or am I an odor?
Matthew 8:18-34
Speaking of value, this passage in Matthew deals with value, cost: understanding the difference between inexpensive and cheap. We Christians are in danger all the time of thinking grace is cheap because we consider costly that which we should consider cheap, the things of this world. Unwilling to give up the world and what it considers valuable, we refuse to pay an inexpensive price for eternal glory, the submission of our hearts and minds to Jesus. We do what Esau did we despise the birthright because we value more the immediate filling of our bellies. The funny thing is that Esau didn’t trade his birthright for a daily meal for the rest of his life, he traded, or sold his birthright for just one meal. Can this be like an unwilling believer to pray and fast, denying himself/herself to obtain a deeper relationship with God? Is this a picture of who I am, grappling with trinkets of no value, while ignoring the Pearl of Great Price?

The disciples in the boat in the midst of a violent storm, were alarmed by the intensity of the waves and wind, they valued the effects of the storm over the Words of Jesus, and Jesus Himself. The same storm rocked Jesus while he slept because Jesus knew that His Words had value over the cheap effects of the storm.

When they got to the other side and Jesus cast out the demons, the townsfolk valued their pigs over the value of two men who got their minds back. They valued their pigs over Jesus who could have given them something greater than pigs, which by the way nice little Jewish boys were not even, supposed to touch.

Psalm 10:1-15
The Psalmist writes a prayer that many of us have prayed either out loud or in our hearts. We see what looks like the triumph of the wicked and we cry out to God for justice. Thousands of years may pass but there is nothing new under the sun the wicked still do wicked and we still implore God to remove them, and He will.
Proverbs 3:7-8
Again we hear and read that Wisdom, true Wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord and repenting (turn your back) from evil.

Grace and peace,

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