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i love hugs..i would definitely say our Church is into hugging,its a lovely tactile way of expressing our deep bonds of friendship..you do of course get people like my husband who have a large private space all around them, hes just not comfortable hugging anyone but myself and our children and what is rather sweet is that our friends recognise that and pass on their affection through me..saying to him " i shall ask stef to give you a hug for me "

depending on the translation you look at there are hugs going on in the Bible too..from way back when Laban hugged Jacob,Esau hugged Jacob, Benjamin hugged Joseph, Israel hugged his sons,Isaac was seen hugging Rebekah..but my favourite in the Message is in Proverbs 24:26 " an honest answer is like a warm hug" so i reckon we have it on good authority that hugging is ok! so have a hug back everyone ( )

I haven't given a hug - a sincere hug - in a long time! I need to give a hug because I need a hug!

[Late post for yesterday's readings]

The Man With Leprosy

I stated leprosy always symbolizes sin. I think Ron Ritchie from pbc.org elaborates on it more fully:

"In the Old Testament, leprosy was viewed not so much as a symbol of sin as it was the judgement of God for sin and its consequences; sin which produces uncleanness, separation, decay and, for most, a painful and untimely death. Thus, leprosy was an outward sign of the death that sin produces in people's lives. When a person was cured it was seen as a symbol of the resurrection of that person from the dead and his reinstatement into the land of the living."

The leper came to the Lord in a humble state and acknowledged he had no cure for the malady. But if the Lord is willing - He can provide the healing.

While it was a physical cure the spiritual implication seems to be: Jesus has the power over death (sin) and can bring one into the land of the living (eternal life). It is a picture of the humbleness and acknowledgment of helplessness we need to aproach God with regarding our salvation.

The physical healing was to be a sign to the priests of the temple - that of the Messiah, so they would investigate more carefully Jesus Christ.
Jesus Heals a Paralytic

While it seemed the leper's ignoring of Jesus' instructions hindered His ministry - it seemed this next scene provided the same opportunity.

Luke 5:17a
"One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there..."

Here they were to inspect away - and Jesus dealing with the Paralytic highlights priorities. His first statement was:
"Friend, your sins are forgiven."

Although he ended up healing the man physically as a sign - the order should not be forgotten. The first priority is our "soul". Which would you rather have - a perfect body, wealth, and status for 100 years - or an eternity with God.

Signs just don't work when the heart is not right - in the end "Everyone" (includes the Pharisees and teachers of the Law) were amazed, gave praise, were in awe - but nowhere does it say that they "believed".

Deuteronomy 1:37-38 jumped out at me this morning. Moses was a humble man but it was difficult even for him to accept responsibility for his own personal sin. When the people were grumbling about needing water, God told Moses to go to the rock and tell it to produce water. Instead in Numbers 20:1-13 we learn that he and Aaron approached the rock and Moses said “we” will give you water and then struck the rock twice with his staff. Moses’ personal sin was twofold – (1) he struck the rock instead of just speaking to it as God had ordered so he was disobedient and (2) he credited Aaron and himself with providing the water instead of God. It was because of Moses’ own personal sin, not because of the sins of the people, that God told him he would not live to cross into the Promised Land and Joshua was to be their new leader and lead them instead. In these two verses in our study of Deuteronomy today we see Moses putting the blame back on the people for his own personal sin.

Deuteronomy 1:37-38 “BECAUSE OF YOU, the Lord became angry with me also. He said, "You will not enter the land either. But Joshua, the son of Nun, is your helper. Joshua will enter the land.”

Just as it was hard for Moses, it is also hard for us to see our own personal sins and accept responsibility for them without placing the blame elsewhere. Other people, what happened in our past, how we were raised, the situations we find ourselves in, nothing can make us sin today! The sins we commit as a Christians today and each day are committed strictly by our own choice and we have to accept the solitary responsibility for them because we can’t place the blame elsewhere. We need to seek God’s help us in this area!

Wow! If this sounds like I’m preaching, please be assured that I’m not. I’m just sharing with you the words that leaped off the page during my morning study of His Word.

God Bless,

Numbers 36

Inheritance of Zelophehad's Daughters

One of God's little details mentioned before in the genealogy post.

Num 36:8
"Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father's tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of his fathers." NIV

If it is correct that Mary, daughter of Heli had no brothers than the above verse would preserve her inheritance and bloodline (to David)- if she married within her tribe.

Mary was from the tribe of Judah - so was Joseph.

According to Levitical law Joseph was not just a son-in-law to Heli, but becomes the son he never had biologically. Thus being correctly listed in Luke's genealogy.

Jesus - adopted - has the same legal rights as if He was Joseph's eldest biological son. Including the legal right as David's descendant through Solomon to sit on David's throne.

Luke 5

Jesus in previous verses had shown that he physically healed the sick and paralyzed. Spiritually showing he made people whole and delivers them from the death that is sin.

Verses today seem to emphasize who he has come to make "whole" - it is the sinners who are called to repentance.

People that think they are righteous would not admit that they (Pharisees) have a need for Christ, but the sinners that know they are sinners and repent will be made "whole".
Patches and Wineskins

Talked about in Matthew. Used to think Jesus was talking about the New Covenant and the Law here in these verses. But I have come to think Jesus is talking about more than a change in theology. It is about a difference in the relationship with God. The triggering issue was disciples were eating and drinking and not fasting and praying.

The New Covenant is a very personal relationship with Christ - as He abides in You and you in Him. the Law had become ritualistic and impersonal yet thought to be pleasing to God. It wasn't working and never will work - due to man's nature.

This explains why Jesus did not begin a reform movement within Judaism, working with the rabbinical schools and such. Jesus says, "I haven’t come to patch up your old practices. I come with a whole new set of clothes." - David Guzik

Luke 5:39
"And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better." NIV

"The Pharisees' argument was that the old was good enough, so they rejected the new, fresh, life-giving teaching of Jesus. On the other hand, Matthew and many of his friends were open to hearing the good news of salvation." - Ron Ritchie

They rejected this new personal relationship - they were comfortable with their ways of worship and teachings - it worked for them.

Hence - goes back to why Jesus came for sinners - when they realize they are sinners - they are open to this new relationship with God.

Powerful lessons today in Deut. regarding obedience/disobedience. I liked the commentary that went with this:
"Though God brings his people into trouble and affliction, he knows when they have been tried long enough." ...thank You God for your grace!

I like in Luke, Jesus came to heal the sick...of course we all need Him, but the "sick" are the ppl that realize their need for a Savior, the righteous don't realize it, bcos they trust in themselves. God will not strive with man forever. Manyof the Pharisees had probly crossed the line, the unpardonable sin in which it was impossible for them to be saved. this is not an easy place to come to! I know many people who rejected God for years, but way later on were saved. but continually hardening one's heart is dangerous!

There are of course many ways of giving, it can be individual...it could simply be a giving of our time. being with someone who's hurting, listening to them, exhorting them. helping others with your God given skills/talents, spending time with someone who is lonely. Being dependable. One phrase a pastor said that i liked was: Give of yourself and be blessed!
when i spend too much time in my own head, concerned with my own needs, i sure get depressed!

I went on a missions trip to Mexico a few yrs back n we were talking to one prostitute who was originally from where we were. She was listening to us but kinda closed off a bit. then a girl from our group just grabbed her and hugged her. the lady broke and started sobbing. Her heart changed, her resistance came down...just that feeling someone loved her, she was worth something, broke her n she was open to us, or to Christ. she decided to go to church the next day and get off the streets. that was awesome!
We went to a notoriously "bad" places...i've never seen anything like it before in my life! hundreds of girls lined up...prostitutes, YOUNG girls, 14-15 yrs old! We just walked passed them and i was looking in their eyes passing out tracts (couldnt talk to them bcos i dont speak spanish) but the pain was so evident in their eyes. I just had to control myself from bursting into tears. Our group split up to guys and girls and had at least 1 Spanish speaker in the group. I was with 3 guys (I had to stay in between the guys bcos it was dangerous, possibly us girls could be nabbed by pimps lurking in alleys. (yes, it was quite an experience!) BUt we were walking down a street with so many bad clubs and guys/promoters would run up to us trying to get us to go into the club, then they saw our tracts and their countenance changed drastically.
I was a little put off by these promoter guys, thinking they were contributing to this sinfulness (wrong on my part). One "cool", "tough guy" approached our group and was trying to get us in the club, and said to me: ladies get a free drink! I dont think i spoke a word, i just looked in his eyes and smiled n i handed him a tract. he looked at it and burst into tears! Wow! that was the power of God so intense there!

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