Monthly Archives: March 2019

Impatient Along The Way

Impatient Along The Way
4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” 6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. (Numbers 21:4-7)
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (Numbers 21:8-9)
“But the people grew impatient on the way;” the text says, it does specifically attribute their sin as impatience that led to speaking against the Lord and complaining about His provision.
That is often just as much a temptation in waiting as doubt could be. Sometimes the will of God leads us through uncomfortable places to get us to better places. That calls for us to have patience. Faith is often the test of believing God to bring us out of a trial, yet patience is the power to wait well while in a trial.
The people were showing ingratitude toward how God had been at least providing food. Yeah it got old for them after a while, the mana, but it kept them from starving to death. If they had by faith obeyed God when He opened to door to go possess the promise land to begin with, and not shrink back in fear of “Giants”
Then they would have been the generation that had entered the promise land and would not have been sentenced to wander 40 years in the desert.
Yet the desert became their lot because of unbelief and that was why they had so long been eating mana to begin with.
Through unbelief and impatience we too can keep our own selves back from good God would give us if we only faithfully wholeheartedly obey. Unbelief will keep an unbeliever in a desert and they may never see the good God would do in their life because they are grumbling and living in their doubts and sin.
They have not turned to embrace the Savior who was lifted up onto a cross, just as the bronze snake was lifted up to take away the Israelites guilt in Moses’s time. The grumblers here in numbers were bitten by literal snakes, yet the unbeliever is envenomated by the Serpent of Old, their souls suck up deadly poison and lies. They are sick, dying in their ways of sin yet Christ says “Look to me”
Many in Israel died as a result of these snake bites. Perhaps some even after the bronze snake had been made, refused to humble themselves and look on the bronze snake the God had Moses lift up.
There is something so sinister about pride that it will often hold a person back from repentance even as they are dying. Pride might say “God, kill me, you won’t break my stubborn will, I will die before I serve you.” And indeed some will I am afraid, because the proud heart will suffer terrible pain and often still be unyielding and obstinate.
Is this you reader? Are you sorely deceived into rather suffering much for sin just to be in control and feel right? You will forfeit so much, God’s kindness, goodness and mercy. Is the pleasure of having your pride that great that you will suffer loss of much in this life as well as lose your soul in hell? Is it worth it?
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” (Jonah 2:7-9)
Humble yourself, be saved! Receive the love of Christ and forgiveness you can never earn. The choice is your’s but you surely won’t regret the latter, but will be doomed if you hold fast to the former.

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Smoke In His Nostrils

“Keep away, I’m too sacred for you” were what they said to others, as if their sins were not significant or weighty. Yet the nation had already become unholy in her conduct and God said, “Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day.”
Many people don’t like the smell of smoke, in fact some hate the smell so much that they don’t want to be around people who smoke at all. Yet our sins are what make us wreak of a stench that God does not want to catch a wiff of.
These people judged the sin of others and said, “Keep away, I’m to sacred for you.” Yet God said in essence to them, “You keep away from me for you have become like smoke in my nostrils.”
God loves people, he hates their sin. Imagine if your loved one, wife, daughter, son or close person to you developed some disease to where they just smelled like rotting flesh. Does your love for them make them in that case easy to be around? What if they smelled so bad, that you felt like gagging or puking every time they came into the room. 
Suppose there was a way to make it so they could be cured. Then you gave it to them and they said, “Sorry, if you love me you ought accept me as I am.” 
Yet then they have made it so even though you love them, they cannot be around you ever again because they smell completely nauseating. In fact, you will suffer health issues if you are close to them.
In OT times a leper had to be excommunicated to a colony made for lepers. Even the closest family could not be around them unless they too had the disease. Leprosy was a disease that would damage tissue and cause oozing sores but also attacks the nervous system. 
Yet spiritually leprous people cannot stand in the presence of the Lord and their sin must be cleansed. Jesus Christ is the Savior that takes our sin away and makes us clean, so we can now be close to God.
When people reject that cure, they choose to cling to leprous ways that keep God saying “Keep away”

No Balm In Her Box, Israel’s Incurable Sore.

No Balm In Her Box, The Sore of Israel.

“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? (Jeremiah 8:20-22)

But that day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty— a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes. The sword will devour till it is satisfied, till it has quenched its thirst with blood. For the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will offer sacrifice in the land of the north by the River Euphrates. “Go up to Gilead and get balm, Virgin Daughter Egypt. But you try many medicines in vain; there is no healing for you. The nations will hear of your shame; your cries will fill the earth. One warrior will stumble over another; both will fall down together.” (Jeremiah 46:10-12 )




“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 6:13-15 )

What can we understand about the heart sickness that plagues human kind. The disease of sin, it is more then just skin deep but permeates all facets of the heart. 

Topical remedies won’t work. Good deeds won’t become healing balm for our outrageous guilt. These people tried in vain many religious things to no avail. Religion only addresses external behavior but cannot convert the heart.

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them. Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.” Jeremiah 6:16-20 – 

Oh how he wanted to lead them into peaceful abode, but they said “We will not walk in it.’ And “We will not listen” 

In vain they offered to God empty offerings and He said, “What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”

The sacrifice of God is this, 

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar. (Psalm 51:16-19)

God does not nearly delight in fasts, religious works or offerings as much as the heart, offered up in humble repentance and contriteness. True love for God is what He desires. Anything given aside from love for Him is like giving a gift to a stranger. 

Truly, if you gave your loved one a gift, they would treasure it because you gave it from the heart, yet you give a stranger or someone not close a gift, that may indeed be merely a bribe.

To refuse to obey and trust God but give him a gift or offering, that to God is like a bribe that people give thinking they can appease their guilt and sin often.
What does God truly desire? Not your offering or mine but rather to receive Him as our offering to cure our wound and sore called sin

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

In the prophesies, of Egypt, Israel, and Babylon, the metaphor used is that of an incurable sore that there is no balm for. There is no salvation for them, except, 

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:13-14 )

There was no fast, bull, offering or lamb that could atone for the incurable wound of these people- except, the blood of the greatest sacrificial Lamb of God

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Finally during the time of Christ, the Messiah had finally arrived as the long awaited prophesies were unfolding. So sad though, because many could not recognize Him

Shortly before He was crucified, Jesus wept over Jerusalem

34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:34-35)

Yet the hope for those who will believe and receive Him is this: “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:11-14)

Sanctification

But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:5-6)
As we walk obediently to the Lord Jesus, we give Him greater room and allow Him to bring completion of the good work He began in us. We can stifle our growth through sin, things like anger (James 1:19-20) or sexual immorality (2 Thessalonians 4:3-8) can slow down growth. We are told we should do everything without a complaining rotten attitude, 
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

Philippians 2:12-15 – 
God is working in us, yet He wants us to cooperate with the process. We do so by obeying with the strength he gives us through the Holy Spirit. To be without the Spirit, means one is without Christ, to be without Christ is to not be a Christ follower and to be outside of grace, unable to live the Christian life. 
That is why it is not viable for a non believer to reflect Christ’s values, because
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 – 
The ideas of meekness, and repaying good for evil or loving ones enemies for example are foreign and bizarre to non Christians. The thought of Jesus dying on the cross to save us from sin, that seems absurd to the non Christian. Yet we know very well that because Christ loved us while we were estranged, and through His sacrifice in our place, we know this made us acceptable to God and has the power to make us new creations.
Let us follow His ways and let him reshape us daily to reflect His values instead of the World shaping how we think, respond or behave!

Soul Rest

Often we may misconstrue what this means. Does this mean being a Christian is easy? No. Does it mean life will be problem free if you follow Christ? No. 

However, it is different strength we gain when we truly rest in Him by faith. When our strength fails, His shows itself in us to be supernatural to meet whatever challenge we face.
To yoke ourselves under the yoke of Christ means, we submit to Him. When our hearts are submitted to Him, His Spirit takes the steering wheel and we no longer strain like a little train that kept pep talking himself “I think I can, I think I can” but rather His power begins to steer us and enable us to carry life’s difficult loads. To carry heavy bundles, such as guilt, shame, fear, worry, – these are not bundles in Christ’s yoke He wants us to carry. He wants us to realize our sin, repent and then come under His Lordship by faith. Then when a man or woman turns to Christ in faith and seeks His forgiveness for sins, He comes to live inside our hearts, by the Spirit, and He begins to be the power we need!
So Christian, if your yoke seems heavy right now and you are struggling and straining at the oars like the disciples in the storm, perhaps your not letting Jesus be in the boat. Perhaps somehow, you put Him out there, and now are trying to live for Christ in human effort without realizing it.
Ask first, “Is my struggle created by something God truly wants me to carry? Did God have me take this on, or did I just assume he did and now am overwhelmed?”
Second, “If he has called me to do this or that, how much daily time to I give Him in my day to invite His presence into my life?”
Thirdly, “Am I carrying a load in my mind that Scripture teaches I should not assume responsibility for, such as worrying about the future and things beyond my control?
Fourth helpful question, “in light of Scripture, what do my thoughts I think on reflect. Do they reflect what Scripture says is ‘true, lovely, right, pure, admirable, excellent’? (See Philippians 4)
The mind can also if directed negatively, multiply life’s heavy loads. A tired heart and mind is a tired life!

Danger of Comparing


Comparing ourselves to others, or being envious of other people is not good. We see here that Aaron and Miriam, both close relatives of Moses began to speak against Moses because he married a woman of Cush, modern day Ethiopia. 
Yet we see the real resentment was not the woman but rather Moses’s leadership. We can often out of personal jealousy and envy of others find so many stupid reasons to resent them. We see this happen here. First of all, the Lord shows us that He is not nearly as concerned about the color of one’s skin as the colors that come from the heart. Jealousy, pride or envy can make us look so ugly.
We see that God though he judged Miriam for her instigation, he shows he is just as much a merciful God as we see Him described in the New Testament.
God does not kill Miriam or Aaron, Miriam who probably started the bickering among Aaron and herself become leprous for a span of time and is confined outside the camp for seven days. See how the Israelites waited till her punishment was over until they went on. Here I see God’s grace even in His severe dealing with Miriam.
We also see how it is said of Moses, “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone on the face of the earth.” We see Moses distressed in fact and plead with God to heal his older sister.

Moses was not thinking of himself here or how he had been wronged, but shows distress that the Lord leaves Miriam leprous.
We also see how God spoke face to face with him, not in riddles or dreams like an ordinary prophet, because “He is faithful in all my house.”
Let me guess, it is probable that God used Moses so greatly and spoke so clearly just for the reason he was humble and so faithful. Many people say God does not speak so clearly. God does want to communicate, so it is not God’s fault, but rather as it is written
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.

Psalm 25:14 – 
We see God also have a very special close relationship with another man, Abraham. God actually in Genesis 18 says “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”
Then later it is written: ““But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend,

Isaiah 41:8 – 
God has friendship and closeness reserved for those who reverence Him and wholeheartedly obey Him. He does not love any of His redeemed children less then others, but he will confide most with those who are faithful with what He has already shown.
Jesus said, “14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

(John 15:14-1)
We become God’s friends first by faith in Jesus Christ, before that we are enemies of God (Romans 5:10) 
So God obviously never loved us less or more when we were saved vs after. However, we see God’s love reach into the realm of enemies to win friends.
As we grow in our faith and continue on in his commands, our fellowship with Him can grow, and He will reveal more to us as we mature in the Friendship with the Lord. We will be trusted with more revelation often when we grow in the practice of what we already know! He will reveal more as grow and develop a deeper relationship with the Savior and Lord who loved us at our worst, yet still desired to bring the best out of us!
It’s a privilege and honor to be called friends of God, we should not reverence His Lordship less for this but we have a relationship with our King and God.

God’s Great Love For His Strays.

I once knew someone who had a dream of making a cat house, a sanctuary for stray cats. Well I it came to mind all of the sudden that in a way, this is what God has in mind for his strays.
Jesus said, ” 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 19:10 – 
He also spoke to His disciples before His hour came to atone for the sins of the World and it’s strays,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:17-18 )
Jesus knew these people were helpless, he saw them as “sheep without a shepherd.” (Mark 6:34)
Yet the way some people are found pf stray cats, God to must have compassion on His creature, human beings.
Though human beings are not to lovely, they claw, they hiss, they flee from their maker not understanding who he is. Like ferrel cats that claw and hiss as one may try to rescue it, so often the lost fearful soul that does not recognize God for His love and grace may too fight against efforts to capture them.
Once when I was around 17 or so, my sister brought home a cat she found at a Walmart. We named him cinco. 
Well one night Cinco somehow got into the vent that has an opening on one end in my sisters room and another in my room. I woke up that night to frantic cat meows, and discovered Cinco had fallen down and was trapped in the vent. The vent cover to my sisters room had been taken off, so he had somehow managed to fall into it and get trapped. 
I had a set of tools, and unscrewed the cover of my side of the vent and set him free. Cinco took a fondness to me that day on and we were close as could be.
Yet this is to what our Savior does for us, we do not know how desperately we need Him until we finally realize how trapped we are in our sins and foolish ways. Jesus came to set the captives free!
We see Jesus on several occasions show compassion to people suffering. The religious leaders who showed little compassion for people, even they seemed to have compassion on their animals.
7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:7-12 – 
When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” Luke 13:12-16
We live in a time where animals are often more loved by people then people love each other. Yet Jesus has compassion on both, Jesus does not just discard His care for man and woman because we sin, but rather He comes to set us free and show this Love.
Because it is true of us all
For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 2:25 – 
What happens every time Jesus Christ adopts by His grace a new stray?
4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:4-7)
Praise God for his richness and mercy! Praise God he has more concern for us then we have for ourselves even. He knows we are not truly fulfilled with the ticks of guilt and the fleas of our shame and ways that don’t work for us. So he comes to save us!

What’s In Your Storage?

I pass by a “Climate Controlled Storage” place on my way to work everyday, address 11925
Psalm 119 speaks so much on treasuring the Word and storing it up in our hearts and minds.
Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.

Psalm 119:24-25 – 
Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path. (Psalm 119:127-128)
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11)
Jesus spoke himself much on the matter of storing up things, He said
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Jesus is not against us owning possessions or having things, yet things are temporal and nothing can compare to the Eternal treasure of knowing him.
Jesus warned: 

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)
It was not sin he was rich but he was so wrapped up in wealth and possessions that he forfeited His soul and was not “Rich toward God”
At the end of the day only few things are forever 
The Word– Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Matthew 24:35 – 
Souls of People: 
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Matthew 16:25-26 – 
God Eternal and Christ Whom Brings Eternal Life:
27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

John 6:27-29 – 
40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:40-58)

The Arrangement That Should Have Ben Hadn’t Been Made.

Sermon: An Arrangement That Should Have Ben-handn’t Been Made. The Tale of Ahab and Ben-Hadad. 1 Kings 20
Now Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his entire army. Accompanied by thirty-two kings with their horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria and attacked it. He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.’” The king of Israel answered, “Just as you say, my lord the king. I and all I have are yours.” The messengers came again and said, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘I sent to demand your silver and gold, your wives and your children. But about this time tomorrow I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.’”

(1 Kings 20:1-6)
Every time I read about ole Benny, I think of a story sometime ago of an individual who got mixed up with the wrong person and stayed in his house for some time. Then when the individual wanted to leave, the guy said “Your belongings are under my roof, your laptops mine, your cats are mine.” 
Well fortunately everything was retrieved with assistance of the authorities but every time I read about Ben Hadad I chuckle because he says this to Ahab.
God sends the prophet to tell Ahab that the Lord will deliver Ben Hadad’s army over the Israel. Thus it goes, and Hadad escapes.
Then the prophet warns Ahab that Ben Hadad will rear his ugly head the followinf spring.
Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.” (1 Kings 20:22)
Guess who’s back, Ben is back, guess who’s back, Ben Shaddy is back. 
Here is where Ahab sins and seriously blows it. God defeats the Aramean army but Ben Hadad grovels for mercy and Ahab makes a treaty with him, contrary to the prophets instructions.
The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside. The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’” For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room. His officials said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.” Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live.’” The king answered, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. “Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!” they said. “Go and get him,” the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come up into his chariot. “I will return the cities my father took from your father,” Ben-Hadad offered. “You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.” Ahab said, “On the basis of a treaty I will set you free.” So he made a treaty with him, and let him go.

1 Kings 20:26-34 – 
As a result, the prophet rebukes Ahab.
By the word of the Lord one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with your weapon,” but he refused. So the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him. The prophet found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him and wounded him. Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent of silver.’ While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.” “That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.” Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. He said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’” Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria. (1 Kings 20:35-43)
What can we learn here? First of all, some people have no business being in your life. As Christians, we are not called to literally cut people down out of our life with a literal sword, but too easily if we are not cautious we make treaties with people in friendship who will cause us problems or lead us away from God. Ben Hadad also is representative of some sinful habits we should show no mercy in severing out of our life. Temptation seems to spring up in the spring when we may be at ease and enjoying fair weather of life and comfort. David was tempted to “in the spring when kings go off to war” and as a result of such temptation he committed grievous adultery.
Make no friendly terms with sin friends or people who tempt you into it. For it says “Walk with the wise and grow wise but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20)
Though we are called to be kind, merciful and share the good news with people who do not know Christ, we must be careful not to put ourselves in a situation that would lead to sin. That would both discredit the message and our profession of faith as well as damage our own souls in the process. Then we are neither good to be much light to those who need Christ and we are harming also ourselves.

Sun and Shield

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11 – 
We see the Lord God depicted as both a “sun” and “shield”
God is both a strong refuge of protection to those who seek Him as well as a source of light that guides us, illuminating our paths.
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. (Proverbs 4:18-19)
Jesus also used similar metaphorical language saying,
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 – 
Though life takes us down dark roads, through trials and troubles, we never need be without the light of His guiding presence as well as the hope that shines so bright in us!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
When the unbelievers suffers in shadows, they do not have this hope we have, that is why we must be a light to them as God shines his light on us. We must be like the moon on a dark night, that reflects the glorious light of the sun. Those in the dark night of the soul do not see the sun, yet they see the moon’s reflective light and can know the sun exists because it reflects a light from the sun that is elsewhere. That is why it is important that we reflect Christ Jesus as we should so that those who do not yet know Him can see Him in us. We must never try to be the light, otherwise we eclipse the Son and become darkened ourselves. For the moon is not a producer of it’s own light but bears the light of a glory greater then itself, that is the sun. Jesus rightly says “Apart from me you can do nothing”
And apart from taking our place in the presence of Christ, the image of the invisible God, we are useless to show the world what light it needs. Thus, we must reflect His character and the light of the goodness of The Christ of God so that we are not what the world sees, but rather we mirror what we see in Him. To the praise of the glorious God who through His great love, grace, goodness, has transferred us from realm of the night
 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:13-17)