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Hmmm Mike, >>And I of course remember the old adage, "cleanliness is next to godliness...." :) >> Well there is one little problem here whose standard of cleanliness and godliness are we to measure by? Jesus certainly knocked the Pharisees out of the water with his rebuke of their cleanliness rituals. It might be an old adage but is that adage true?
Numbers 2:3-51

Is there order here? Yes there is order, God’s order and everything regarding the Temple, the camp and the placement of the tents of the tribes and their “fighting” men and the people following also speaks to me about the plan and purpose of God. Everyone is given a plan and has a purpose designed by God. But the choice is ours whether to work the plan God has given us or to work the plan we want to pick up. I believe we enter chaos when we pick up our plans instead of God’s.

The redemption of the firstborn sons foreshadows Christ, as the Firstborn of God, redemptive work upon the earth. Except Christ work is so very deep and broad that there only need be one of Him for all of us.

Mark 11:27-12:17

This entire section is about authority and submission to an authority. The question is whose authority is being submitted too? The religious leaders question Jesus, demand from Jesus who has given him authority to disturb their “business” franchise in the Temple. Jesus’ response to them challenges their authority to question Him about His authority.

The leaders response to Jesus show that they are week leaders, afraid of the people and week leaders may have positional authority but they lack spiritual authority.

The farmers didn’t want to submit to the owner’s authority over his fields that they worked in the owner’s physical absence. His authority comes by right of ownership not by what they think is fair or unfair.

The trick question the Pharisees tried to put to Jesus about taxes, again is really about authority. If they truly believed that Jesus “…sincerely teaches the ways of God,” why would they even ask Him a question about paying taxes? They through, wrongly, that submitting to God was mutually exclusive. If you submit to God you cannot submit to earthly authority. Jesus shocked them by letting them know that the things of God and the things of man are not one and the same.

Psalm 47:1--9

The only thing I can speak of is to add to Mike’s comments with an encouragement, “Rap on, Rap on!! Just make sure you give it a beat that you can dance to.

Proverbs 10:24-25

Fears and hope, both will bring to pass what is in the heart. The question becomes what is the state of my heart, what kind of soil have I prepared and will it bring to fruition deadly fears or life-giving hope? Wickedness or godliness, there is probably just a thin line that divides one from the other and it all has to do with the state of the heart and our dealing honestly and truthfully with what is there.

Grace and peace,

Mike shows us a map of the basic layout of the Israelite's camp in the desert. For a further interesting observation on the shape of the camp as viewed from above, read here: http://ldolphin.org/camp.html The numbers of people given for each tribe would cause the camp to appear as the sign of the Cross. That's what Balak and Balaam would have seen when they went up on the high place to attempt to curse the Israelites a few chapters later in this book!

I am so thankful for this recourse. I am a mother of 5 kids 10 and under. I am in a difficult marriage that if it weren't for prayer, the word and some strong boundaries I would now be a single mom. I don't claim to have any wisdom except for what God has shone me. I keep a private blog of my reflections on the days reading in light of my situation. I long for others to be encouraged by the encouragement Christ has given me. Yet to share publicly would not honor my husband that I pray will one day be saved and find peace in following after God's ways. I share all this to see if any would like to have permission to read my blog. Please send requests to [email protected]

Amen :)

Well, it is sad to say that there are still many people who does'nt know who the true cornerstone of our lives.Jesus the cornerstone must be lifted up in our life. Our lives should be in aligned w/ all His teachings.I am very much thankful that God open my eyes and choose me to be an instrument for other people to know God inspite of their fears and sicked bodies tormented with different illness still God is so gracious to let them know that there is God.

Yesterday, a friend who is also reading the same Through-the-Bible plan told me that Numbers had convicted her that she needed to get rid of the clutter and unnecessary things so if God called her to "move" she would be able to.

I have always been a kind of packrat. Saving things, just in case... Of course the scriptures about treasures in Heaven and corrupting and rusting come to mind, too.

Last night, I had my daughter-in-law come over and help me start purging the unnecessary out of my house. Starting with the closets. It's just a beginning, but I already feel freer and that means I am making room in my thoughts to allow for more service to the Lord.

Many people do not relate the clutter to a hindrance to serve. I don't agree with "cleanliness is next to godliness" but I am beginning to understand why the adage from long ago, in a simpler age was used. You cannot make full use of your gifts if you are always in a state of disarray or clutter. Hoarding is lack of faith.

Anyway, that's how He's working in my life right now. I want to be free mentally and physically from things that would distract me from service.

Mark 12:1-12 The parable of the wicked vineyard tenants

The bible uses metaphors, often agricultural such as vineyards, orchards and the bearing of fruit to drive home a point. We are called to be fruitful, if we are not fruitful it’s because we’re not listening and not yielding to the Holy Spirit. The parable of the wicked vineyard tenants at first glance seems to be speaking of some distant really bad people that have taken over the owner’s vineyard by committing murder and stealing the vineyard from the rightful owner. I know that is how I perceived this parable at first. After reading several commentaries on this parable it became evident that this parable is like an onion skin, the more it’s peeled the more layers we begin to see and the closer we get to our own association with the wicked tenants.
In the parable Jesus indicts the same people God delivered from bondage in Egypt, reminding them that God also sent them messenger after messenger only to have great men of God like Elijah, Elisha Isaiah and Jeremiah rejected or killed as they refused the call to repentance. So, are we like the wicked tenants? Are we giving God the portion of our lives that is due for our tenancy here on earth? We are the vineyard (the church) and we must ask ourselves what will happen when the owner of the vineyard returns? As Christians, God will not see us as those who killed His Son but as those who the Son willingly died for. This parable for me was like having cold water thrown in my face, waking me up to the reality that every time I willingly sin, I’m the wicked tenant rejecting the voice of the master. God’s word provides such balanced teachings, the wisdom of the Old Testament law and wonder of His New Testament grace, the wonder of His constant forgiveness.

On Mike’s question “Do you think that God is a God of order? Should we be people of order?”

I am a person of order? Please don’t ask my wife the answer to that question? I stand firmly on being a person of Semi-Order as I cop to the garage contents, many of which are deferred decisions that someday I will reckon with.
But seriously, I do believe as we turn the reigns over to the Lord, He will to the degree we allow Him access make us people of order. The benefits of living as people of order are paramount. Getting rid of clutter and having things in order frees from distraction and helps us put our priorities in proper sequence. Thanks Mike for giving me a better perspective as I launch the Spring cleaning, I am going to look at it differently, not as a chore but more as an opportunity to be included in the headcount of God’s people of order.

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