Psalm 51:7

Earlier this week, I decided to organize a bathroom drawer.  I threw out some ponytail holders that our daughter wore years ago.  When I got to the back of the dark drawer, I discovered an unused Q-tip, with unkempt fuzzy ends.  It didn’t surprise me it could fuzz-out like that.  What did surprise me was that it had yellowed.  I hadn’t seen a yellowed Q-tip before.  We’ve lived in this house over a decade, so it looks like it got shoved to the back of the drawer and left for years.

Let’s pretend the old, yellowed Q-tip represents an unrepentant sinner that has run away from God.  Are you an old, yellowed Q-tip?  Is someone you know an old, yellowed Q-tip?  If so, you, or someone you know, can be a new, whitened Q-tip.  Jesus can make anyone whiter than snow.

Joshua 3:7-4:7

Earlier this month, my family and I took a trip to Virginia Beach, VA.  One of our stops was at Appomattox, VA in the McLean House, where, on 4/9/1865, Lee surrendered to Grant.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLean_House_(Appomattox,_Virginia) Years of fighting and bloodshed preceded that surrender.  We remember the sacrifice many soldiers made.

Although Virginia is chock-full of history, Israel is loaded with history as well.  Because of God’s power, Israelites miraculously crossed over the Jordan River on dry ground, even though it was “at flood stage.”  http://www.bible-history.com/maps/palestine_joshua.html  Twelve stones were taken from the Jordan River’s middle ground to their camp.  Joshua then set the stones up as a memorial.  I guess Joshua had a different kind of Memorial Day.

(Repost with minor revisions)

2 Samuel 22, 21:15-17a

I read about a battle between Israel and the Philistines.  David was exhausted and a Philistine named, Ishbi-Benob,  wanted to kill him.  Then Abishai came forward and killed the Philistine.  I believe God used Abishai to rescue David.  David was a thankful man and sang in celebration after God helped him many times.

Eight years ago today, God rescued me.  I was driving on Bever Avenue, a busy street, when someone ran a stop sign and headed for the left front of the car.  I was forced to swerve immediately to the right onto a side street, and unfortunately, there was a little car that suddenly appeared at a stop sign there, right in my path.  I braced for the impact as my tires screeched, but instead, the front of our car just seemed to float.  I opened my eyes and saw the little car I had tried to avoid still at the stop sign, with no damage.  I was pointed in the right direction.  Shaken, I drove very slowly and found a place to park.  I checked out the car.  There wasn’t any damage, and I wasn’t injured!

Believe what you like, but I believe God sent an angel to pick up our car.  Thanks be to God, my rescuer!  God helps me in many ways, but the heavenly help on Bever Avenue that afternoon stands out.  Every year now, when I put up a new calendar, I write on the month of May, “Heavenly help on Bever Ave,” so I can remember what God did for me.

 

Daniel 1:3-14, 2:46, 3:23-30, 6:23

I read Daniel for the third time yesterday after watching the movie, “The Book of Daniel.”  This movie mostly adheres to Scripture with some minor differences:

Scripture:  A court official was too afraid to grant Daniel’s food and drink request, but a guard agreed.
Movie:  Daniel only talked to the court official.

Scripture:  After Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream, Nebuchadnezzar “fell prostrate before Daniel…”
Movie:  After hearing the interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar walked toward his throne and sat down.

Scripture:  Royal advisers and others looked for evidence of fire on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and Nebuchadnezzar didn’t mention the word, “fire.”
Movie:  Nebuchadnezzar examined them and said the word, “fire.”

Scripture:  Daniel had to be lifted up out of the lion’s den.
Movie:  King Darius said to Daniel, “Come forth” and Daniel simply walked out.

Daniel and his friends were steadfast in their loyalty to God.  They probably had God-fearing mothers.  If their mothers still lived and found out about their applied love for God, they would have been pleased.

 

Luke 9:28-33

Whenever I read Luke 9:33, it makes me smile.  While Moses and Elijah are leaving Jesus, Peter proposes making shelters for each of them.  This verse says, “…(He did not know what he was saying.)”  So, maybe later, Peter thought, “Why did I say that?”

I went to two sources for insight on Luke 9:33.  Liberty Bible Commentary says, “The three disciples were fast asleep while all this was transpiring, and were surprised by what they saw when they awoke.”

The Reformation Study Bible  by R. C. Sproul says, “Peter suggests building structures of some kind, perhaps to enable the experience to be prolonged.”

Peter probably didn’t know that people in the future would be analyzing his words.  Poor Peter.  His heart was in the right place.

Psalm 148

On Friday morning, I woke up at 5:30 which is unusually early for me.  I heard a cardinal singing.  I went to the kitchen window and saw it.  A robin began to sing and I watched a pair of ducks fly by.  It was like they couldn’t wait to start the day by praising God.  Psalm 148 says, “Praise the Lord from the earth, you…flying birds…”

Tomorrow is Monday and many seem to go into “miserable mode” when it arrives.  The birds around here face hawks and cats almost every day.  They sang anyway.   Instead of expecting Monday monotony, let’s, like the birds, start our day praising God.  Even if you don’t sing well, SING to our king!  I hope you have a magnificent Monday!

Luke 4:16, 7:11-17

As I was reading in Luke, I got curious about the town Nain.  This town was where Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead.  After a search in biblegateway.com, I found out Nain is mentioned just once in the Bible.  According to http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/nain/, Nain means “lovely” or “green pastures” in Hebrew.  On this ancient map, it is about ten miles from Nazareth.  Can you find Nain?  http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-first-century.html

Luke 2:8-20, 6:12, 9:10-17, 13:10-17

On Good Friday night, my family watched the movie, Jesus (1979).  We had watched it several times before, but this time I took notes.  This movie is based on the book of Luke and is careful to adhere to Scripture.  Still, I wanted to analyze how the movie helped enrich our understanding of what Jesus and others might have experienced.

In Luke 2:8-20, at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, shepherds reside in fields at night, guarding flocks from whatever lurked in the dark.  They would surely have been prepared for any predators.  What they didn’t expect was an angel.  The Bible lets us know that the shepherds were frightened.  The movie did well showing shepherds initially doing their job with one shepherd even playing a flute-like instrument.  But when the angel arrived, the flute playing stopped and you see one shepherd stop petting a lamb, get up, stagger, and stare.  It felt realistic.

In Luke 6:12, it’s mentioned that Jesus spent the whole night praying.  There was a convincing scene for that.  Imagine staying up the entire night praying!  That’s amazing!

In Luke 9:10-17, Jesus miraculously fed more than 5,000 people with a small amount of bread and fish.  Everyone ate until they were full.  The movie added cheering people when the food was being distributed, which I thought was a nice touch.  It could have happened-Who doesn’t want a free all you can eat buffet?

In Luke 13:10-17, A woman who must have had kyphosis, praised God after Jesus healed her.  In the movie, the elderly actress spoke heartfelt dialogue as she moved to frame Jesus’ face with her hands saying, “Praise to the Lord!  God keep you Rabbi.”  I got teary with her believable lines.

Jesus is a good movie.  It prepared our hearts for Easter Sunday.   The movie makes me think of a framed quote in my dentist’s office that says, “It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross but rather his love for us.”

 

Mark 11:1-11

When Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, they came to the Mount of Olives.  According to wikipedia, the Mount of Olives used to have olive groves all over the slopes.  I like to think that the olive groves were there when Jesus came.  Maybe He and His disciples ate olives there before the rest of the trek to Jerusalem.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_of_Olives

As I read today’s Scripture in English, I wondered what praise Jesus, who spoke Greek, would have actually heard as He rode the colt to Jerusalem.  My Bible says, “Hosanna!”  I looked up the Greek word for Hosanna, and although I don’t think this computer has the characters to type the written word for Hosanna, I can at least type a pronunciation which is very close to the English word.  In Greek, it is pronounced, “Osanna, ” without the “H” sound, and with the last syllable accented.

So, today, you can praise Jesus in English, Greek, or in whatever language you speak.  Happy Palm Sunday!

Luke 9:1, 10-11

As you may know, Jesus gave His disciples power to cure diseases.  Later, at Bethsaida, He, “healed those who needed healing.”

Late last year, I presented with hoarseness to a local doctor and was soon diagnosed with silent reflux.  Prior to that diagnosis, I was very healthy.  But, evidently, over time, my esophagus had been damaged by stomach acid getting past the damaged “doors”(Sorry if you’re eating right now) and eating acidic food.  I’m on a strict diet now where I can’t eat anything lower than pH5 (so no oranges, salsa, etc.).  Before my diagnosis, I drank orange juice and enjoyed lots of salsa.  Also, stress is pH3, so I have been trying to manage stress.

The last time I saw my ENT doctor, he said my vocal cords were red and swollen.  But a little time has passed and my voice is getting stronger, which I’m grateful for since my family sings/plays for Children’s Church.  I’m hopeful for healing on the horizon.