I was amazed this morning as it was, I believe, revealed to me that God’s blessings go in every direction.
Think for a minute, what comes to mind?
Boats almost sinking, nets tearing, and great heavy loads of fish piled up on the shore.
Have you had thoughts like, what a waste, pee eww.. that’s gonna smell bad. So on.
Think again of Peter, James and John, Andrew and others the Lord requires them to leave their nets and follow him.
Problem. They have wives, families, mothers, sisters and so on. People dependent upon them.
Is it possible there happened to be something big on in the city that day, and they would find a demand for much fish? Get a good price? Perhaps salted and preserved in barrels for later consumption and sale?
Peters wife was not the breadwinner, but it seems to me, Jesus has just provided more than enough income for this village to sustain them all, in the absence of the men. Now I often used to think I wouldn’t be happy if that happened to me. Had the Lord not shown them his provision, perhaps it would have been too much for his wife. Perhaps Peter wouldn’t have been as quick to follow.
I imagine the whole fishing community were abuzz this day, and can you picture Peter saying to his wife he has to go, and her pushing him out the door
Jesus gives them a job to do and comforts the families with a clear demonstration that it will be ok.
Obviously these men were at home at times, with Jesus, and enjoying family fellowship as we see when Jesus heals Peters mother in law.
But the time would come when they were dispersed to “catch men” as Jesus put it.
This is not prosperity gospel, this is God clearly showing how he provides for his workers. If the Lord builds the house he provides all that will be required.
Look back further to the wise men, they bought gifts. There are all kinds of legends and spiritual symbolism there. But was properhaps God was providing for a time immediately following this visit. Joseph, not much spoken of but serving in his own role. These gifts had to provide for a move to Egypt and back to Nazareth. Before God even sent the messenger to tell Joseph get out of town, he had made a way. Remember Joseph also had to leave everything behind his carpentery, business, his relatives and go to a new land and find housing, work and so on.
How amazing is God?
Don’t doubt He is aware of what is going on today, and that provision is already being provided for tomorrow.
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb” Jeremiah 1:5
During prayer for my children and grandchildren recently, God revealed to me that I have at least three little souls in heaven that I will meet one day. It occurred to me I might have many offspring that I haven’t heard of, and won’t know the extent till I am in heaven. I miscarried my 5th baby, my eldest daughter miscarried many, God knew them in our wombs, Wow!
The lifestyle of one of my sons in particular, could be responsible for many lost souls, I am sad to say.
Like Job I offer prayer for Gods mercy on them, for sins they commit. Job 1:5.
‘After his children feasted seven days eating and drinking he was concerned that they might have blasphemed or cursed God in their hearts. He offered up prayer and sacrifice for them.’
Like Job this particular day, I was offering prayers for anything they may have done against Him. I felt suddenly overwhelmed with grief and felt that perhaps one of my sons wives, or someone in the family might be contemplating it at this moment. How would I know?
I wept for all the children who that day, would be lost to the earth, and I prayed that none of my family were amongst them.
Of course we are responsible for our own sin, but I believe as Moses prayed for the Israelites when they faced Gods wrath, we may stay His hand for a time and intercede on their behalf.
If I truly believe from conception they are living beings, filled with Gods likeness, as each soul is, then they deserve names. God says he will give us a new name as Rev 2:17 states. These little ones are those of which the Bible speaks, persecuted, through no fault of their own.
He gave me this prayer that morning.
To My Unborn Grandchild
I’m sorry precious baby For the way you left the womb,
For the selfishness of Mum and Dad,who’s hearts could make no room.
Had I known of your existence, I would have fought, cried and begged,
If you don’t know the story of Rizpah or have skipped over it whilst reading your Bible, go back and take another look.
If, like myself you have a broken family, children who have rejected Christ and are dead in sin, then Rizpah is a woman that you can relate to
I have spent endless hours and years trying to find ways to lead my children to Christ. I have travelled mile’s to show them I love them and forgiven hurts, cancelled debts, given gifts and of course prayed for them. But I wonder now if I had the same passion for my children that this woman had.
I have prayed like Hannah, and given my sons to the Lord.
I have begged Jesus, like the woman asking for scraps from the table of the Lord. I have begged, cried, hurt and withdrawn. I’ve taken antidepressants, lashed out at those who’s lives seem better.
Been envious of those whose children love them, honour and have relationships with them.
God has dealt severely with me at times over this and until recently I had been going about it all wrong. what were my motives? Did I want a pew full of squeaky clean well groomed robots?
Did I want the Hollywood version of the perfect God fearing family who beam at their mother and praise her from the rooftops? He showed me that its not enough to want our children saved from hell, its not enough to want them to go to Church.
The goal of our prayer for ourselves is to love the Lord with all our heart mind strength and put him first above all else.
If we aren’t glorifying God then what are we here for?
If my children are to follow Christ it has to be, because they want and desire Him. I don’t want them to have a lukewarm relationship, they might as well be where they are right now.
In brief, Rizpah was a concubine of Saul and because of Saul’s broken vows and disobedience to God, his sons were used as public disgrace. They were hung in full view as a warning. it is a terrible shame for a body to be left out like a criminal. It was nothing they had personally done; they were innocent just as our Lord was innocent. However they were chosen because they were Saul’s sons. Now this event appeared to me as a most depressing and dark story when I first took a good look. And I thought
“EWWW”. I couldn’t bear to stand by watching my boys decay like that. It was difficult for Mary to see her son suffer but I imagine it was most horrific for Rizpah.
She fought vultures and carrion by day and wolves by night. She would allow nothing to touch her dead sons’ bodies. She also protected the others who hung there.
She laid sackcloth over a rock and sackcloth represents repentance? So was she interceding for the nation or had she hope of the resurrection to come through our Lord and Messiah?
There is little written about her thoughts or words, but her dedication was heard of by King David and he gathered the bones of Saul’s other sons for Burial when the time came that the bodies were allowed to come down.
She kept vigil alone.
I wonder what God said to her through this time. I don’t believe he would leave her comfortless. For mothers, there are times when we feel desperately alone. And the world probably looked on her with scorn but here is where it began to inspire me. It was as if a light bulb went off within my soul.
God showed me that these bodies are the same as my lifeless (spiritually) dead children.
I pray for them,yes, but have yet to intercede to even the minutest part as long as this woman held vigil.
Yes added up over many long years I have cried and interceded for them. But it became clear to me that the enemy who prowls around seeking to devour is just as rabid and ravenous as these creatures in that day. I have to pray without ceasing that’s clear from the Bible, but its clear to me that I must ask the Lord to teach me to be faithful in this way.
Over the years I have met many mothers in similar positions to myself. One thing many people tell us is, let go and let God! or, give them to Him and leave them there! this all sounds great in theory and seems easy enough.
But I know that the Bible says some things are to be asked for with faith, some come out by prayer and fasting, ask , seek , knock. And whilst I know that my Father knows my needs, he also says I must share in his sufferings.
Part of my prayers for my children touches Him right where he is at, with the human race. Lets face it many are called and few are chosen, He wept over Jerusalem, He wept in the garden for all those who would reject him in the future. He didn’t say “well God I did my bit, now its up to you”. What does Jesus do even now for each and everyone of us? He intercedes on our behalf to the Father night and day.
What a Saviour!
As Rizpah was heard by King David, and he was moved to compassion, So much more is my Father and King a God who hears.
I admit it! I am proud and a bigot. When it comes to digital technology I have been a digital racist (is there such a thing?) if there is, I am it. I refused to learn all the social media and other things out there, because once bitten twice shy. I have had a Facebook account, once. It didn’t last long.
According to (Prensky, 2001) I am most definitely a digital immigrant.
My head is spinning from how much technology I am expected to know. The more I learn the less I know.
I think that’s the best way to put it.
I am always learning, and consider it a way to keep my grey matter functioning. I am curious by nature so have to limit the amount of ‘surfing’ that I do. The internet opens one window which leads to many others and it appears endless the roads you can take with the merest click of a mouse.
Technology can be a wonderful thing, especially for those who have struggled all their lives to find an outlet for learning. For those who didn’t enjoy reading the need to be able to read to put together games and graphics has certainly inspired many to excel where school couldn’t reach them.
For the physically challenged there is more available to make life accessible. Those confined to beds or shut in, the ones who aren’t confident in society can now have a voice. It brings the world to us, and can put us on show where we would never have had opportunity before. Facebook,Skype,Viber , FaceTime and so many new and interesting platforms are making it possible for people to see family and friends wherever in the world they are.
Cyber bullying through family members, airing dirty laundry online, some of the things I disliked. It really is, in your face! and one of the reasons I dislike Facebook.
You only have to watch talk shows like Insight (SBS) or Q&A, to see that kids are having a say, and interacting with people we would not have had access to before. Politicians and world changers can be accessed quickly and make decisions based on what the populous is saying.
However young people today need us to speak their language and many schools are now opting to meet them where they are at. To protect them we need to understand digital security. Education has many forms and one is to teach young people how to treat others. Bullying is always unacceptable no matter the form it takes
For all the advances we have made, there is a downside. Anything can be open to corruption and abuse. Hackers, spammers and cyber bullies can make life miserable. Worms, viruses and other nasty bugs are not just a thing for the natural world.
Most of us know the expense of a crashed computer, lost files, and for some, possibly a stolen identity. I personally watched my daughter suffer cyber bullying through high school on her mobile, to the point of death threats. To this end I guess I refused it point-blank.
The family unit already at risk, of losing the ability to communicate face to face, working families and fast food made it harder for us from the 70’s onward to sit at table together. Most conversation was already on the point of collapse.
Facebook seems to have made it more possible for us to chat, and twitter means a faster less wordy way to keep up to date and let others know your movements, yet there still seems to be little relax time, chilling if you like, in the company of others. I prefer a good old bellylaugh in a room full of people to a smiley face emoticon and LOL or ROFL attached.
Have you sat in a room with a friend or loved one, in silence, while they texted or read posts or messages on the mobile? Just the other day I was amazed when having dinner with a couple in the over 50’s bracket a tad shy of my age LOL, who told us that they visited their adult children in their mid 20’s on a one-off visit which were few and far between. They left them sitting there alone while they went of to chase demons on Pokemon Go. Call it a generational gap or whatever you like but sadly I am never going to have the relationships with my children that we had with our parents.
I personally am grateful for Skype, and Viber, as they are the only means I have of seeing my grandchildren and family spread around the country and overseas. I know I am not the only one left, however I still write letters snail mail on occasion and also add photographs into the envelope. I guess I am not the only one as Post Australia is still in operation.
Facebook I am not as enamoured with. I tried it a couple of times and have to say I had more people adding me than talking to me. So I guess they add you to see your photo albums, catch up on where you are at since primary school then move on.
Digital etiquette and digital security both ought to be taught at school, And in the workplace.
Things are different nowadays
It’s mind-boggling the capabilities, and for someone from my time, its more than we imagined possible, Sci-fi never inspired our imaginations the way technology is doing today.
Caution is definitely needed nonetheless, as it is easily abused and we need to keep up, so as to stay protected. How do we keep on top of this rapidly changing technology? I have no idea. But I won’t use what I haven’t as yet grasped, and I keep my settings very private. I don’t put too much information about myself out there either, lets face it, if there is someone who wants to know that much about me they should be able to contact me personally for it.
I am curious, but not consumed with technology. For the most part it was thrust upon most of us in my age group. I was the one who didn’t want to hand over my passbook for a plastic thing I stick in a wall to get cash. I have resisted as far as possible, but in the end …
From my earliest recollection music has been a powerful part of my life. Anyone who has a memory will tell you, there are feelings and pictures conjured up when we hear the strains of certain tunes from our childhood.
Music can be uplifting, comforting, relaxing soothing. Heighten emotions such as danger, (as we know from horror films) or lift the spirit as strains across a panorama of visual beauty, in Technicolor (for those of us from black and white TV days). How many of us gasped at the magnificence of the Austrian landscape, alps, streams, rolling green pastures and Salzburg’s cathedrals with the strains of orchestra building to a climax as Julie Andrews sings, “The hills are alive?” How many still feel emotion when they hear Edelweiss played on a soft guitar, and I am not Austrian.
I have many wonderful memories and favourite songs from my childhood, from an early age I could hold a tune and had a lovely voice. I was allowed to enter the school choir under the age requirement because I had an ear.
Music gave me joy and I lived to sing for the joy alone. I never needed to be a contestant on young talent time or the equivalent. The smile on my parents faces’ said it all to me.
By the time I reached the fifth grade things were changing. At school we learned new songs, some were fun and folksy like the Seekers or Peter, Paul and Mary. But it was the 70s and things were changing. Music became an influence on me and I was forming associations with darker meanings. I traded Beethoven for the Beatles, and as I got older the association with many songs are still with me today, many not good. A neighbour who passed away suddenly, a family suicide, and the time I had been violated.
I made it a point to learn every single lyric of every song that I liked obsessively. So what was I studying all those years? certainly not anything that was uplifting or growing me in a healthy self-image or in an acceptance of who I am in Gods eyes.
Why do I share this obviously I am not alone in this experience? now as a Christian I am aware of the power of the ‘Word’. In the beginning was the Word. The word is life and light and a sword. In the 70s I had little to no knowledge of Christianity and the Bible. God says,
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. Matt 12:36
I have read many articles on the evils of rock and roll and the Biblical proofs that there is a definite right and wrong way to use instruments and so on. My argument is not based on any of their theology, simply to lay aside all the stuff others say and from my own point of view to ask “Why?”
Why in Gods name are we playing music in Church during worship that is definitely music from our past, that was not sung by professed Christians and has associations with evil. Or music that mimic’s the world view that is anti God?
There are many arguments about Christian contemporary music and my task is not to revisit stuff you can research for yourself. But I want you to consider, as I have this week, what are we thinking? People always use the excuse “Sing a new song unto the Lord!” God loves music he created it, for his glory.
If I take Davids Psalms and put them to heavy metal is this a new song? It is still Davids song. I feel sure that if our hearts are right before the Lord we will praise him as David did in our own words. But we need to keep it about Him. not what “I have” or what “I am” or what he can do “for me”, some of the lyrics are basically about anyone, and it is hard to distinguish who they are about at times.
About six months ago I was in small country Church, and the final blessing was the Celtic prayer, “may the road rise to meet you?” It isn’t biblical, but we put up with it so as not to offend the leaders. We went a few more times to this Church, where we were hit with Mindfulness, Yoga, we should not mix eastern religion with our beliefs, but the straw for me and another one of my pet hates is when the leadership doesn’t check what the music leaders choices are.
Elvis! now I don’t care if at home you love Elvis, if you make pilgrimage to Graceland, I don’t care if you think he is the king. But in My heart God is King, Christ is on the throne, and as far as I know the fruits of Elvis life are not such as I think we should hear his voice in a Church assembly. I don’t care if its scriptural lyrics. Now call me a prude or old-fashioned, call me legalistic, but who do you think people saw in their hearts and minds while this song was played that day? Were their eyes turned to Christ, or God the Father? how can I disassociate myself from Elvis.
This isn’t the first time and it wont be the last. We are always inundated with celebrity at church or sermons with a touch of Hollywood, its frustrating. The word isn’t enough? the psalms aren’t enough?
We are on the road often, living in different places for short and long periods of time, and visit as many local Churches as we can. But it saddens us to see, so often Churches that think the music is the answer to dwindling numbers or plasma screens with dynamic entertainment on-screen.
As a preteen I saw Jesus Christ Superstar*. My brothers had already seen Godspell,the LP’s played over and over. Note the word spell on the end. I had no real knowledge of the gospel and didn’t really know about crucifixion had never entered a church only once prior to this. I had been invited to Sunday school and been attendee in scripture at state school which I enjoyed. So I didn’t really put two and two together with JC superstar till much later.
One of the reasons I bring this up now is, that, recently at a Church we have been attended,the two rock operas were given a mention and 70s worship was raised at the opening session in Church.
Now I believe the Holy Spirit speaks to us in this day and age, and the week prior to this leader speaking, I had been attacked in my mind all week with the lyrics to Judas song from JCS*. As if Satan himself were mocking my Lord in my head. I unfortunately had learned the whole opera from beginning to end as with most pop songs at the time.
Now my mother liked Boney M, “By the Rivers of Babylon” and yes it’s based on a Psalm from the Bible. She obviously believed it was a christian tune back then. It is a party dance song, not the lament it was for the Israelite’s in captivity. If you have seen any of their album covers you would get the idea of bondage, and I don’t mean the captivity type. The nudity and explicit pictures will tell you pretty quickly what their agenda is, and it isn’t worship of our God. The fruits of this band tell me that this song is not to be used for worship in the Lords House.
I was asked to play some music the following week and it was noted that we would be doing a Boney M version during worship time. As a result I had a heaviness of heart all week. This is not the worst of what we have come across in our travels, and we said nothing to her as she means well.
I had previously expressed to her the uncanny timing of her message on 70s church music, and how I had seen these operas that her good Christian family had denied her growing up. I said to her I felt she was most fortunate not have them rolling around in her memory, “while you were studying Gods word as a teenager I was swallowing muck from hell” I told her. ” And you never forget it”. I guess she didn’t think about it much.
Please think about what you sing to God at Church and what constitutes praise and worship! and what is really nothing but pop or rock music, and dare I say it, there is now Christian Death Metal? how?
I have been involved in worship, I have led worship I have taught it, I have encouraged my children when they were young in it, but, with wisdom comes responsibility. I know that if I am at this Church next week and Boney M comes out through the speakers, I wont see God before my eyes or picture the glorious majesty of Christ, I will see the late 70s, a time of destruction to my soul, my heart, and abuse that would affect me for the rest of my life.
Yes God pulled me out of it all, I live with consequences of my decisions and the evil plotting of others over my life, but in the words of Paul we should not cause another to stumble and for that reason some churches refrain from alcohol at communion for the AA members just one e.g,
Music didn’t make me fall,
Music didn’t break up my family home,
Take away the life of my uncle and cousin to suicide,
Music didn’t cause me to raise children alone
But music reminds me of all the heartache that my Jesus has taken from me, It breaks my heart for those left back there. It increases the loneliness of hearts that are broken, despairing and gives wrong messages. Not all, but an awful lot of it. Is it possible that the music you play at Church could hinder them hearing what they should, as they are focused on it?
It was David Bowie who stated that Rock and Roll always was the music of the devil. He was not alone in this.
My daughter went to Church and Katy Perry Roar was played? seriously? another who on you tube gives her fame credit back to the enemy of God.
I have serious issues with much of today’s Christian praise and worship music, but that is not my issue here.
Think people! what happens to Gods people when they offer the profane with the holy?
Should we be offering him the dregs of the world, or should we be helping Gods people to take their eyes off the world and onto the purity and the awesomeness of God? This world is a tough place to live and setting our eyes on things above surely must be better. Why are we so afraid to be different, why do so many bands have to say they sound like other worldly bands? Aren’t we just doing the same as we did pre-salvation, and labeling it CHRISTIAN?
It is a serious thing to be up the front choosing the praise of the assembly. God says he inhabits the praises of his people. If we are not praising from a scriptural and pure heart then who inhabits our praise?
Did I raise this with this woman? no, I am a visitor not a member and not wanting to cause her offence. The shepherd needed to be aware so we went to the shepherd. Fortunately and we find this rarely, he agreed with our conviction, I loved how he said,
“much of the worship today is as deep as a cup of tea”
so our job is to pray for this Church and its pastor, that the Lord will show and reveal to him the scriptures that he revealed to us and more. We are praying always for revival, of course it begins in us, we must cleanse the temple of which we now are.
Chronicles 29 deals with this issue before the temple worship was restored. It’s very interesting and worth a read. Chronicles 30 speaks of the runners and The Lord gave us a job to do two years ago and that is what we do, take letters and run in a way to all the Churches encouraging them to come back to the pure worship the right way and we all receive the blessing.
The Lord prompted us to speak up, and we did in love, and we continue to pray for Him and other ministers of the gospel to be attentive to what is being preached, sung, and presented in the assembly.
Imagine if we were to sing pure praise to the Lord? we would have words of life repeating in our minds all week and not the world intruding.
Why do the malls and stores have constant radio playing? why do Libraries that were once quiet places often have the radio now? Is it so that we can’t hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit?
The enemy knows how powerful music is. To pray without ceasing would be much easier if our minds were full of the pure word not the world’s music.
Yes God created music and taught David how to make instruments. But we live in a fallen world and Lucifer was also created to give praise, He fell from heaven and he demands worship too. Make sure you are singing to the right Lord.
Satan quoted the Bible to Jesus in the wilderness, just because the words you hear sung are from the Bible, doesn’t mean the singer is a believer. Beware.
I was pondering this today, reading again a chapter of scripture which contained the very famous account of the woman anointing our Lord with the expensive oil.
Jesus explains that she had “anointed him for burial and had done right.”
I wonder, have you ever thought about that perfumed oil and what it might have meant to Jesus?
We have all heard the sermons about being a poured out offering to the Lord, and perhaps even about being forgiven much, or being a Pharisee.
I wonder have you considered that Jesus appreciated it more than we can know?
Not long after this event he is beaten, tortured and carries a brutal cross to Golgotha.
Prior to this however is Gethsemane, sweat, blood and water.
I am not trying to over spiritualize or read anything more into it, however it was during my read that it occurred to me a couple of things, based on the account in Mathew particularly, it says the woman anointed his head.
I believe Luke’s account and Matthews are correct but the focus is different.
I think perhaps as she anointed our Lord the passion in her and the Holy Spirit would have caused the tears to flow without ceasing as her heart broke.
She may not have understood the trial Jesus was about to face but the Spirit did, I feel heaven was at play as she anointed him. Perhaps she has fallen at his feet in utter grief and love, and that’s why her tears were on his feet. I don’t think I could stand under that weight either.
Have you ever experienced the flood of tears that comes during prayer when you can’t utter what is in your heart? It is a rare blessing when He allows our spirit to be poured out in prayer. And can you imagine as it is accounted in
Psalm 56:8b King James Version (KJV)
Put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
To think her deed is written for all time in God’s word, but very tear she cried was kept a record of. Nothing is wasted.
Firstly the oil would have been rich pungent oil, possibly frankincense, myrrh and perhaps as in the Old Testament, there is very special oil and incense made only to the Lord.
I wondered if this strong perfume when heated would emit fragrance as rich perfume does when warmed by our skin.
I thought about Our Lord in the garden praying, and as he sweat tears and blood. Would perhaps the perfume every now and again touch his nostrils and remind him of the love of the woman, and why he is here, and would this encourage and strengthen his resolve?
I pictured him with sweat and spittle, dirt and blood as he carries the cross after everyone has deserted him. Perhaps fragrance breaks through it all and soothes or spurs him on. Maybe it reminds him that he is an offering poured out, just as the flask was poured out. He might have been reminded of his love for his Father and that his offering will be sweet in the nostrils of the Father
As he prayed in the garden he saw history from creation to the end of time, but I like to believe he saw me there, and that, the perfume reminded him of the humanity that would love him and would be faithful to him.
This man’s sacrifice the highest price paid for our freedom. Yes this is what I was wondering today.I know that heaven and earth were at war in our Lord and history was about to be changed, I don’t try to lighten this occasion. But maybe this little gesture was used to comfort him in moments when he needed it. Remember the angel came and ministered to our Lord, but only after the travail of his soul. Perhaps my tears are in a little alabaster bottle in heaven? nice thought.