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Matthew 7:7-11, John 3:16

Matthew 19:14

My mom returned our book, “Heaven is for Real” this past week.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s about a boy, Colton, who claimed to visit Heaven during an appendectomy.  I believe him since his story doesn’t counter the Bible.  Chapter nineteen is entitled, “Jesus Really Loves the Children.”  One example of Jesus’ love for children is in Matthew, where Jesus talked about giving good gifts to children.

I know God loves our kids.  I have a recent example of how much God loves our daughter, Emily.  Emily and I had a Biblical conversation while driving home from an event.  As we pulled in the driveway, I felt satisfied that her questions were answered.  Five days later, I half-listened to a morning devotional, but knew that the writer had talked about losing wedding/engagement rings.  Then, one or two days after that, the kids were practicing tennis in the afternoon when I decided to sit down at a picnic table in a nearby shelter.  Before I sat down, I noticed something shiny and small on the concrete floor.  On closer inspection, I saw it was a child’s toy diamond that had become dislodged from a play ring.  I remembered the devotional about the lost rings and decided to read all of it on my phone.  It reminded me of the Biblical conversation I had with Emily almost a week before.  After the kids were done practicing tennis, as we were walking, I asked Emily if she remembered that conversation.  She did, but she had additional questions that I didn’t know about, but God did.  I listened to her and I again was able to answer her questions.  Evidently, it was important to God that Emily get answers to her extra questions.  Those answers were good gifts from God.  He showed He cared about her questions by lovingly and patiently going to great lengths to get them answered.

Colton was persistent in telling his parents how much Jesus loves kids.  Jesus’ words in the Bible revealed His love for children, and I’ve seen evidence of that love.  If you have kids, please remind them that Jesus loves them!

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.

(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.

 

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 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.”

 

Matthew 6:15, Luke 6:28

Pretty recently, I got unexpected news.  A classmate died.  She was someone that mistreated me in elementary school and middle school.  I had already forgiven her, but after learning of her death, I prayed God would have mercy on her soul.

Do you know of someone that mistreated or mistreats you?  Forgive them and pray for them.  If we don’t forgive others, God can’t forgive us.

Genesis 17:5, Genesis 17:15, Revelation 2:17, Psalm 100:4

Has your name ever been changed?  The only time my name was changed was when I got married.  If someone gets a name change for another reason, that involves the Clerk of Court at a courthouse.  There can be a petition to the court, a hearing and pricey fees.  http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/CountyDivision/ChangeofNameProceedings.aspx

When God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah, it didn’t involve a Clerk of Court, petitions, hearings or pricey fees.  God changed other people’s names in the Bible too and He’s not done changing names.  In Heaven, one can receive a new name on a white stone.

Judges 6:11-24

When Gideon prepared food for the Lord, he chose to prepare meat and unleavened bread.  He was instructed to set it on a rock, which he did.  Then, the Lord touched the food with His staff, causing fire to consume the meat and bread.

When I told Emily, my daughter, about Gideon and what he made for the Lord, she was very interested.  She told me that she wanted to make God a cheesecake.  She wondered if He’d like that.  I told her that God probably smiled at her idea of a sweet treat for Him.  What sweet love!

Matthew 4:4

In recent news, a store owner in Canada was frustrated with squirrels that took candy bars.  The candy bars were treasures to those squirrels.  Maybe they were squirreled away in a tree.  Out of Curiosity, I decided to put out a small candy bar with nuts near our bird feeder to see what our neighborhood squirrels would do.  After a couple of days, a squirrel came and quickly munched the candy bar away.  Clearly, the candy bar was an edible treasure to the squirrel.

Yesterday, our young American Eskimo dog had some wall guard instructions in his mouth and got ready to plop down and chew on them.  The instructions were an edible treasure to him (until I asked him to give them to me).

When Jesus said that man shouldn’t live only by bread, but by each word that comes from God’s mouth, that sounds like spiritual food to me.  So, the way I see it, we should see Scripture, our instructions, as a sort of edible treasure.  Eat it up.