Submit and Resist

Scripture: “ ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.  And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’ ”  Numbers 33:55,56 NIV

Observation: The Lord speaks through Moses to the Israelites about the importance of completely clearing away any influences that could cause them to stray after they entered the promised land.

Application: Just as the Israelites were to distance themselves from ungodly influence, the indigenous people from whom they were taking the promised land; we are to rid ourselves of the “old” when we enter the new promised land–life with Christ.  We cannot be a house divided, if we tolerate any of our old self we become divided and we will fall.  God want us to maintain our holiness because he is holy.  James 4:7 NIV says, “submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  We must submit and resist so that we can maintain our God-given holiness.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I give my life to you and I ask that you keep the devil and old influences far from me. Help me to be the holy new creation that you made when I accepted Christ. Amen


OK Lord! I Get It!

Scripture: They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”  Mark 7:7-10 Amplified

Observation: Jesus is talking with the Pharisees.  They are questioning him about ritual cleansing before eating, a man-made ritual.  Jesus answers them saying you put a higher priority on hand washing than encouraging the church to follow the laws made by God.  He also instructs them on the false notion that once the legal requirements were met as their parent’s welfare was concerned, they no longer had any responsibility towards caring for them.

There are two important concepts for life the Lord is sharing with us here:

1)  Don’t let the traditions made by man interfere with your relationship with the Lord.

2)  Honoring your father and mother is a lifelong pursuit.

Application: I will only address the second of the two concepts here, although both are equally important. I have a very difficult relationship with my Mom.  In a nutshell, we are like oil and water. We have, at times, gone years without communicating and now neither my brother nor I have the strength within ourselves to deal with her.  In September 2009 I went  to visit Mom and Dad for 10 days to help get my Dad home and on Hospice care. While I did accomplish the most important task of getting Dad situated, I fell short of the long list of things my Mom wanted done.  This lead to my husband and I leaving early and my mother and I having hard feelings towards each other.  Since that visit in September she has been hospitalized and my father has recently passed away.  My help has always been accepted by her conditionally and dealing with dad issues was no exception.  Fortunately dad’s social worker and I were able to maintain good communication.  Without that communication I would not have known of my Daddy’s passing.  This Sunday I was praying about this difficult situation.  The Lord began speaking loudly and clearly to me about my relationship with Mom. He told me that I can’t change the way that she behaves but I still have a responsibility to care for her to the best of my ability, that’s why he included that “honor your mother and father” thing in the commandments.  He also gave me Mark 7 to remind me of the importance he places on that issue.  I must admit, I have failed to fulfill my Heavenly Father’s desires where my mother has been concerned. On Sunday, the Lord promised to give me the strength and protection I would need to express my love to my mother and fulfill my duty as her daughter.  He revealed to me that only he can shield my heart, and yours, from someone who purposefully sets out to hurt you.  He has called me to see my mother through his eyes and to not give up hope.   I called her Monday night and, with the Lord’s help, I listened and I encouraged her and told her I love you.

The Lord is so good to me.  He protects me and gives me the strength to deal with the most difficult situations.  I’m so thankful that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and that the bible gives good counsel on all of life’s experiences.

Prayer: Lord, my mother needs you in her life.  I fear that if she doesn’t come to know you soon it will be too late, she is 83 after all.  Please Heavenly Father send someone to share the truth with her in a way that she can understand.  Lord, please continue to give me the strength to serve you by serving her.  Protect my heart and allow me to let any hurtful behavior go through me without taking up residence and causing more hurt.  Lord, I do love my Mom and it is my wish to help her live out her remaining years with her family around her, loving her to the best of their abilities.  Lord that can only happen with your help!  Please refine my attitude and conform it to you Lord.  Amen


A Pleasing Aroma to the Lord

Scripture: Please read Numbers 28-29. Note the number of time the phrases “without defect” and “pleasing aroma” are found.

Observation: As I read these passages the Lord brought to my mind two statements of truth.  1) Jesus Christ is without defect and the ultimate offering for our sin.  He alone is capable to be without defect and he alone can bear the weight of my sin and yours.  2) His blood shed for our sin washes the smell of sin from us.  Because of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross we become a pleasing aroma to our Lord.  Throughout the old testament altars were built and offerings without blemish were made to heal our relationship to the Lord.  Jesus is the Lord’s blemish free sacrifice.  He is God himself and he paid the price for our sin so that we can have a healed relationship with our Father.

Application: How far am I willing to go to be a “pleasing aroma?”  What is my responsibility?  How can I begin to understand the sacrifice Christ made for me?

Prayer: Lord, it is my wish to be a pleasing aroma to you.  Lord,thank you for the blood shed for me on the cross.  Lord, direct me each and every day in new ways to serve you.  Teach me to share who you are with those around me.  Lord, if I am worthy and pleasing to you use me to further your kingdom.  I am willing to serve you according to your will not mine.  Amen


Freed From My Suffering

Scripture: A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,  because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”  But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.  Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.  He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”  Mark 5:24-29 NIV

Observation:  The crowd around Jesus was thick.  A woman who has suffered most of her life with endless bleeding thought “if only” I can touch his robe I will be healed.  She made her way though the crowd and touched the  hem of his robe.  She was healed.

Application: What was it like when Jesus healed you?  Do you remember before you were saved all the “if onlys” that never happened because you were depending on your own abilities the be healed?   We’ve all been healed!  Salvation through Christ is healing, his deliverance out of a difficult situation, physical or mental illness recovery are all examples of his healing.  How did your life change after you met him?

For me healing came in the form of forgiveness and love.  The Lord not only forgave me but he gave me the opportunity to experience love and forgiveness “God-style” through a new life he created for me in Kansas.  Not only have I gotten to experience love, friendship and marriage built on the Lord’s foundation, but my Kansas family and friends are loving and kind more that I deserve.  Many times I feel like I’m living in a dream and am so undeserving of this life.  My life still has experienced great sadness but I no longer face hardships and illness alone.  I have my Savior, the hope He has given me and my loving family.

How can I possibly show my love and thankfulness to this wonderful Creator and Lord?  I will profess my love and gratefulness for my Lord by standing strong under difficult situations.  Job set the example for me.  He never quit the Lord.  Even though Satan destroyed his family and took his health, Job held firm to the hope found in the Lord.  That is my responsibility as well, to call on my Lord for strength and guidance through my praise and worship of Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father there are no words to thank you.  I am humbled at the thought of all you have done and are doing.  The Psalms say you are my redeemer and so much more.  Thank you for never giving up on me, for allowing me to love and be loved in such an unconditional way.  Lord I pray for the members of my family who still do not know you and haven’t felt the love, forgiveness and salvation you offer.  Amen


God’s Holiness

Scripture: Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.  The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”  So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”  Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Numbers 20:6-12 NIV

Observation: Moses and Aaron get water for the thirsty nation of Israel at Meribah.

Application: Almost!  That’s what Moses and Aaron did–almost!  Yes, the Israelites cried out for water; yes, Moses and Aaron went in and beseeched the Lord on the Israelite’s behalf; yes, the Lord gave the two of them exact instructions for getting water for the nation; yes, Moses and Aaron went to the rock and BLEW IT!  I’m not so sure that I wouldn’t be crying like a baby for lack of water just like the Israelites did if I were in their shoes, so I don’t believe that I would have been any stronger than them. However, I would hope that if I were Moses by this time in the face-to-face relationship that I had had with God, I would know to give credit where credit was due.  Moses did not honor the Lord. He did not show God’s holiness before the grumbling nation and it cost him the promised land. This is another reminder that God will not be mocked, “…for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1Peter1:16NIV

Prayer: Lord, I will not presume to be more righteous or capable of withstanding hardship than the wandering nation of Israel. I will ask for discernment in my life and wisdom to not offend you. Moses was a man among men; I am not. If he can fail you I know that I will. Forgive me for my weaknesses and help me to be holiness to the world because you are in me and you are holy. Amen



Scripture: When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,“ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”  Mark 4:10-12 NIV

Observation: Jesus is talking to his disciples about teaching with parables.

Application: I need some help. I have never understood these passages. To me they say that Jesus has some people that he wants saved and others that he wants to make sure are never forgiven.  I can’t believe that this is a correct understanding.  So what do these passages mean?  Please keep your answer simple. No deep, deep theology please.  You can answer as a comment here or you can send an email to  I will post the answer or answers, if there aren’t too many, for others to read. Thank you.

Prayer: Father, I don’t always understand your word so I must rely on a brother or sister for help.  That is why the church is what it is. There is an “ear” or a “knee” out there that does understand and can explain so that we can all learn. Thank you Lord. Amen