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August 2019

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Numbers 36:1-13

Again, we have God giving a personal answer to a dilemma the tribe of Manasseh found themselves. Valuing their inheritance, the land that God had given them, they approached God about keeping the land inherited by Zelophehad’s daughters in the family. God is interested in all our concerns. Let us not think anything is too small to bring before Him.


Deuteronomy 1:1-46

Every time I read this passage, I am amazed at this miracle, taking forty years to do on an eleven-day journey. Now, that is some miracle. Sometimes, probably more times then we would care to admit, claiming our Promise is delayed by us, our own behavior; and before we can cross over the boundary line to get in, a lot of things in our lives must fall off as we amble in the wilderness making an eleven day trip into an extended vacation of forty years.

Mike—Your question about “Hugs,” giving them and probably receiving them, has hit a sore spot with me. I am a closed person only giving and receiving hugs from designated people, people who I have mentally cleared as appropriate to receive and give hugs too. I have given hugs to complete strangers after hearing from the Holy Spirit to do so but I always ask permission.

My aversion to “hugs” stems from two things, 1) my background—grew up with a lot of sexual abuse in home and in church. 2) Recently in my adult “role,” I attended a church on Tuesdays for Bible Study and ministry after work that always believed in hugging people. I decided to try to break my aversion to hugs there; however, predators were rampart there also (both male and female). Until I learn how to follow my instincts about how much closeness to allow some folks without fear of reprisals from the crowd (I always sensed who I should or shouldn’t allow to hug me and who to hug yet I allowed peer pressure to override my sense of danger). Interestingly I’m now finding out that this particular church knows there are a lot of predators in their midst because they are in the Times Square (NYC-USA) area, yet they continue to promote the group hug thing.

I realize that this is my own issue that needs to be healed, so for now, people can pass on my hugs through my designated huggers.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Luke 6:1-10

About Sabbath. I always puzzled about the issue of Sabbath. It is because in the OT, there are God's commands about keeping Sabbath for the Jews. But Jesus broke the 'tradition'. Of course, Jesus was right while the Pharisees were wrong because the latter added so much their own traditions to God's original regulations. But with today's verses, I have a new light in this regard. It is not the regulations that matter. It is the authority. Jesus told the Pharisees that He was the Lord of Sabbath. He has the authority. In light of this, the Pharisees were to submit under Jesus. The Pharisees should have only obeyed God's regulation on Sabbath rather than commenting what should or not should be done. The key is in Jesus' hand and He rules. The Pharisees, however, did not recognise Jesus's proclamation of His authority. Instead, they plotted to kill Jesus because of the issue of Sabbath.

As we finish the book of Numbers and move into the book of Deuteronomy we start fresh with another teaching of the Law, telling us once again the importance of having direction in our lives. Again we will be encouraged to embrace discipline and put our priorities and life in order.

Today’s readings were all connected with the same message, stop wandering and settle in. Claim the territory the Lord has given us as our inheritance. Jesus tells us the parable of the new wine skins which encourage us to stay flexible and not become hardened by wandering back to our old tendencies. Look at the path of the Israelites, all that wandering in the desert while the message from the Lord was always the same, start each day with the fresh new manna from heaven and trust the Lord for your daily provisions.

We are not to be like old wine skins that cannot handle the new wine of celebration that defines who we are in Christ. We stay flexible by soaking in the word of God which renews us daily.

I believe there was hugs in the Bible.....when Mary saw Jesus on Easter morning, he said to her "do not touch me" I have taken comfort in this remark over the years, as I realized it must have been natural for her to hug Him

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