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I seem to consistently be a day behind, which is why you haven't heard from me in a while, but I really want to share how Psalm 71 (from yesterday) became a reality for me last year.

I work for Social Services (government) visiting disabled people in the community. As always, when working with people, one encounters wonderful people and not-so-nice people. One service user and her husband and daughter became very angry with me for asking questions relating to her disability (I later concluded she had felt intimidated because of an expressive speech deficit that had not been apparent to me, that had frustrated her in trying to answer the very detailed questions I was asking). To cut a long story short, the visit ended badly with the family shouting at me and me having to leave the house. I felt very attacked and distressed by it all.

Then God gave me Psalm 71. I prayed it as my prayer, asking God to be my safe place, to deliver me "from the grasp of ... cruel men" and to "let me never be put to shame". In all honesty, in my raw emotion, I was quite happy to also pray "may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace". And it was quite difficult to praise God in the midst of it all. I wasn't exactly feeling praisey.

Anyway, God heard, and protected me with a manager who was completely supportive of me (a refuge of sorts), and the "enemy" was completely "covered with scorn and disgrace" and thrown into confusion when two separate family members phoned my manager to complain, swore at her, and each had a different story! My reputation was consequently well preserved as well - my report of the incident was given added credibility as a result of their confusion.

God didn't leave it there. The slate was completely cleared (by the family) and I had to learn the difficult lesson of forgiveness, and go back, and carry on where I left off, and continue to help the family.

I really am able to praise God for this experience, and "tell of [His] righteous acts". God is good.

In Luke 9 verse 7 reading today I realized that, when we are feeling puzzled or worried about a situation or problem we basiclly are saying, "God this problem is too big for you". We seem to have this false belief that we are in control. It is only when we let go and let God, that we see the truth. We have no conrol over anything. What peace I feel when I finally let go and let Him do His job. Have a blessed day. Peggy

Hi Gang. Mike's point re: how we view the poor is very powerful. I think too often that politics and the "will to do what is right" gets in the way of the holistic rescue of the disadvantaged these days. I love Mathew 9:36 that records...
“Jesus, at the sight of the crowds, was moved with pity”. He was MOVED with pity. How often to we just toss down buck to a needy person and then move on to the "greater task" in our daily routine, forgetting all about this person one minute later. Can we take a moment to be MOVED just as the Teacher was. Can we look into the eyes of this man and see God's spirit no matter how deep down it may seem. My frustration is walking in a major inter city. Just stepping outside for a coffee can be time consuming if we are to be moved with each person found along the way. This indicates to me that we are helping but not making the issue "go away". Pope Benedict in his Lenten speach points out that it is no longer right to just "Do" for the poor. Be have lost the ability to "believe" in charity and started to "provide" charity (going through the motions) without thought to a divine authority. If I were a person lacking means and someone had a buck in one hand and "hope" in the other...I know wich one I'd choose. Hey...have a great weekend!

Richard, I must say that the points you expressed were very well said. Most of the poor have no hope. Hope, really is the primary issue here. I live in a town with a high unemployment rate, lots of welfare, homelessness and poverty. I see panhandlers standing outside my place of employment daily. Handing them money doesn't really help the situation. I think a better option would be to give them food or take them to lunch. Often times the money is used for drugs, cigarettes and alcohal. Other times panhandlers really are not lacking anything at all but choose not to work.

We have a man that stands on a street corner with his dog to gain sympathy from passers by. I've been told by someone in town, that followed him home one day, that he is pretty well off. He ownes a vehicle, a home and doesn't appear to live in poverty at all. This gentleman even takes breaks and vacations. I've heard that the dog has more dog food than he can eat in a life time. As far as emloyment is concerned, others have told me that they have offered him a job and he refused. God has a lot of work to do with those who lack hope and Godly values that He has provided us with according to His word.

I have always had the heart to give and help those in need. One solution is to help out at a local rescue mission where spiritual food is provided as well.

Caryn: Great story of the way that you applied Psalms 71 to your life. Thanks for sharing. I work with the public too, in retail. I have to daily suppress my feelings and apply empathy and understanding to those who are rude, selfish and abrasive. And I am not just talking about the customers either. I have to daily remember to meditate on God's word and take up my cross. I have to constantly remember to forgive others as He has forgiven me. I've learned that there are many more good customers and co-workers than there are bad. I always see the works of God and his will accomplished. I have to hold onto the thought that He will have ultimate victory in the end, it is just up to me to trust Him.

Blessings all, have a great day

Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20


I’m trying to make out, if anything, the significance of the three festivals that ALL men in Israel were commanded to celebrate in the place that God designates, Passover (Pesach), Festival of Harvest (Shavu'ot), and the Festival of Shelters (Sukkot). The last two, Shavu'ot and Sukkot, the two Harvest Festivals, were celebrations AFTER the Harvest was taken in. I’ve noticed that there is nothing mentioned to celebrate the seeds being planted, unless it is there and I’ve just overlooked it, but there is celebration when the crops are brought in. Mike made mentioned on the 27th of March regarding Deut. 8:10, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” That here, the blessing or grace was given after not before the meal. We by tradition ask God’s blessing and grace on the food we are about to eat; however, both in the tenth verse, in the eighth chapter of Deut and here in the 16th verse, the food, the volume of the harvest is guaranteed if they keep God’s commands. The results, the fruit from the sowing, is where our thanks and celebrations belongs.

In wondering why this is, I’m thinking is there a potential for us to try and manipulate God to do what we want if we hold a prayer meeting when we are putting the seeds in the ground? If out “steps” are ordered by God, then the starting is not as important to us as the completion. When we follow God ordered steps to completion and we celebrate, that is our witness to the Word that there is a God. Are we negating God’s benevolence toward us if we fuss and fret about the “seeds” we sow? I am not putting forth a Doctrine, but I am thinking about what I do as a matter of habit without thinking, “What does God want me to do based on His Word?”

For all Believers, we have become heirs, adopted into the Family of God. As a parent, what I do for my children in raising them up in the way that they should go is not a privilege to them but an obligation. The children didn’t ask to be born, the parents gave birth to them out of the consequence of their actions. It now becomes the role of the parent, once their children our conceived, to provide food, clothing and shelter as well as guidance. The gratitude of the children comes AFTER the meal is provided, while living in the shelter that is over their head, after investing in the children’s future and sending them on their way into the world—etc. God is our Father and thus He is obligated to feed and clothe us, and we are obligated to Thank Him for doing it so well.

Deut

Slavery

http://www.carm.org/questions/slavery.htm

My thoughts:
Secular people love to point out that the God of the Bible condoned slavery.

In the perfect world that God had started there would be no war, slavery, murder, rape, etc. But this is an imperfect world - and God allows mankind free will to run their lives. So, working within mankind's framework - God set up some rules regarding slavery.

Slavery in biblical times was nothing like the concept of slavery over the last few hundred years. Slavery back then was overwhelmingly "voluntary".

It was utilized by the poor, for families to survive. Every seventh year, the Hebrew slaves are freed. The work was not onerous, and the slaves rested on the Sabbath like the master.

What was not voluntary involved remains of a people conquered in war.

1)If the men were wiped out - what was a country to do - leave the women and children in the desert to die or be taken over by merciless people who would not treat them as well as the Jews did their slaves.

2) If remnants of men were still alive - would you leave them to grow in population and hate and come after you at a later date? Or take them as slaves that you treat humanely.

Not one person that you talk to that objects to slavery in the OT understands what God's wishes are in the matter, nor understands the culture of the time regarding slavery, treatment of slaves, and alternatives to slavery.

If you feel like researching this more - or just want a link to send people with "slavery/Bible issues - try this one. WARNING: It is a loooong article.
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qnoslave.html

Luke

Bleeding Woman

[Repost from Matt9 same story for those that are new or may have missed it]

"Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."

Edge of his cloak or in KJV - "hem of his garment".

"What is so significant about the hem of Jesus' garment? At first reading, it seems an odd practice. However, once we understand the significance of the hem of one's garment, these passages will have much more meaning. The word translated, hem, is actually referring to the fringes, or tassels (called tzitziyot, in Hebrew), required to be on the four corners of all clothing of Jewish men, in accordance with God's instruction:

"The Lord said to Moses, 'Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of one's garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all My commands, and will be consecrated to your God. I am the Lord your God.'"(Num. 15:37-41a)

"In ancient Israel, men wore four-cornered outer tunics with these tassels, or tzitziyot, tied to the four corners. This outer garment became known as a tallit, and eventually evolved into the more formal prayer shawl. But, why tassels? These tassels were to remind each Jewish man of his responsibility to fulfill God's commandments. In fact, these tassels are tied into 613 knots to constantly remind them of the 613 laws of Moses, of which there are 365 prohibitions (The "thou shalt not" laws), and 248 affirmations (the "thou shall" laws). The knots also correspond with the ineffable name of God, the unspoken yod-hey-vav-hey, Yahweh.".....

...."These tzitziyot were a point of contact she needed to help her release her faith to receive a miracle in her life. What did they represent? First, they represented the Word of God, which is always the place where we can find healing for all the needs in our life. Second, the fringes also represented the authority of Yeshua. She had heard that many people were healed by Yeshua, that He taught with authority, and when He spoke, people were healed."

Third, there was even more to these fringes. The prophet Malachi spoke of the Messiah of Israel and said of Him, "But for you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings" (Mal. 4:2). The Hebrew word for "wings" used in this passage is kanaf, which is a word that specifically means the fringe-like feathers or edges of a bird's wing, not the whole wing. All of us have seen an eagle or hawk circling in the summer sky and have seen these fringe-like feathers. This word, therefore, had two meanings and could be translated wings, or fringes.

The woman had heard Yeshua was the Messiah. Perhaps she remembered this messianic promise from the scroll of Malachi and thought, if I am to be healed, then will it be found in His wings... His tzitziyot? By faith, she reached out and touched the fringes, and was healed.

It is interesting that all though the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for wings in most passages is kanaf when referring to God. Surely, the place of refuge is under the kanaf of the Lord, i.e., under His Word and His authority!"

http://www.therefinersfire.org/tallit.htm

[NOTE: I worte on the Tallit and tzitzit last year, but on reviewing the post, I thought this site explained it better. All writing is lifted from that site, and if it is interesting to you - I encourage you to go to link and read whole page.]

Luke 8

[late from yesterday's reading]

Bleeding Woman and Jarius' Daughter

Jarius had seen or heard of healing of demonic in his synagouge.Healing of dying servant of centurion was also in his hometown. Jarius was familiar with Jesus' reputation, and you can be sure as one of the elders of the synagouge - Jarius probably had many an interesting theological discussion regarding Jesus.

But now HIS only daughter was dying. When the chips were down did Jarius rely on the Pharisees' opinions of Jesus? Nope, when he had no one else to turn to, when there was nothing he could do, when he was at the end of his rope - Jarius turned to Jesus.

[I do not believe it was Jarius' daughter by accident - but to be a sign to the religious establishment.]

When the woman with blood issue had spent twelve years in misery, had spent all her money on doctors, and had no hope for a cure, with no control over her disease - she turned to Jesus.

In their pitiful unworthy states they turned to Jesus and by faith the woman was healed. Because Jarius believed - his daughter was healed.

Luke 8:50
"Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." NIV

"So these physical healings were designed by God to give each and every one of us the hope that as Jesus was willing to reach out to those who placed their faith in him as Lord and Savior, bringing physical healing, so he is willing to reach out to all who place their faith in him as Lord and Savior and offer spiritual healing to a sin-sick world." - Ron Ritchie


Also Prov 12:9 speaks to me:

Proverbs 12:9 Better to be a nobody and have a servant then to pretend to be somebody and have no food.

It is a shame to pretend to be important, running up debt to: drive the best ride, wear the best clothes, have the coolest new phone/mp3 player or charge up meals out on a card - then have not enough money to pay a tenth of your income to the Lord - who owns it all to begin with. From my personal experience, I have had plenty, I have had nothing, I have built up a great debt, lost a small fortune, even been told I had it all. Nothing compares with living humbly before God and serving Him!

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