are looking forward
to the new heavens
and new earth
he has promised,
a world filled
with God’s righteousness.
2 Peter 3:13
Blessings of looking forward,
(Summerland, British Columbia)
In those days…
all the people
did whatever seemed right
in their own eyes.
Not a great rule of thumb for folks born with a sin nature and in need of grace.
Now turn the page to chapter 19. Or not. I’d have been tempted to leave this entire sordid mess of sexual violence and dismemberment out. Or at least give it a NC-17 rating so the unsuspecting reader doesn’t just stumble into it. But this pitiful story of the unnamed man, woman, father, old man and virgin daughter is merely a sequence in the bigger story.
So after they’d done what seemed right in their own eyes…
Everyone who saw it said,
“Such a horrible crime
has not been committed
in all the time since Israel left Egypt.
Think about it!
What are we going to do?
Who’s going to speak up”?
My God is crystal clear on sin. He doesn’t sugarcoat it or the eventual outcomes of a life lived without him. And I praise him for that because when the stakes are high, and the outcomes eternal, I want the complete, unvarnished, and straight up truth.
The LORD said to Gideon,
“You have too many warriors with you.
If I let all of you fight the Midianites,
the Israelites will boast to me
that they saved themselves
by their own strength.
And with that, God introduced Gideon to a new concept:
Less, with God, always equals more.
Then he reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 warriors to 300 soldiers and sent them to fight an army with soldiers clustered like a locust swarm and too many camels to count.
That night, using only blazing torches, horns and shouts, Gideon’s 300 soldiers simply stood in position around the enemy camp and the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords.
I stand in awe that the Spirit of this living LORD and Ancient of Days actually waited to be personally invited, by me, to dwell within me.
The angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon in the book of Judges and very plainly said,…The. LORD. Is. With. You.
And Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about?”
Poor Gideon. He wanted to understand the “if’s” and “why’s” and “where’s” so badly that he didn’t understand the LORD was standing right in front of him saying…The. LORD. Is. With. You.
I do believe the LORD heard and understood both questions Gideon asked. I really do. But you wouldn’t know it from the LORD’s response.
Because then the LORD turned to Gideon and said, “Go with the strength you have … I am sending you!”
None of Gideon’s questions were even acknowledged. But the LORD’s supernaturally charged plan to totally reverse Gideon’s situation was ready to be implemented.
He just needed to listen and get up and go.
What else could I possibly need? The LORD is with me and I can go in the strength I already have because he is sending me.
‘Nuff said. Time to go.
(all italics/bold mine)
…Search for peace,
and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord
watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
1 Peter 3:11-12
Before I pray, I try to take a moment to visualize walking through the open door of God’s throne room with Jesus right beside me. His arm is around my shoulders and he says, “Father, she’s mine”. And then they listen to my heart.
I often tell the Lord that I don’t want to waste his time or mine by praying ineffectively. I want his ears to be open to my prayers. So I ask him to change me, to cleanse my heart and remove anything in me that would hinder him from being able to respond.
And then, standing in the presence of the Creator of the universe, I pray.
…pay close attention
to what they wrote, (the OT prophets)
for their words are like a lamp
shining in a dark place—
until the Day dawns,
and Christ the Morning Star
shines in your hearts.
2 Peter 1:19
I love the Old Testament readings where my invisible God shows up with trumpet blasts or fire raining down from heaven or in the embodiment of the angel of God.
But his special chosen people kept choosing to leave this incredible Being for gods made of wood and stone. And God consistently respected their choices, but would also withdraw his blessings.
Then eventually they’d get the message and cry out for mercy. And he would always respond—many times by raising up a prophet who would lead them to victory.
Their stories make me rejoice that I live my life redeemed in the light coming from this side of the cross.
Blessings of attentiveness,
And again David asked the LORD what to do.
“Do not attack them straight on,” the LORD replied.
“Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar
When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar
trees, be on the alert!
That will be the signal that the LORD is moving ahead of you…”
(2 Samuel 5:23-24)
Rustling leaves and snapping twigs…cracking branches and splitting trunks…flashing lightning and booming thunder? My imagination races around ahead of me trying to hear that soundtrack.
I love these out-of-this-world illustrations God shares with me to teach me about his unlimited strategy and grace. And my heart swells to know that, even though I’m bogged down in Saturday time, he’s totally unfettered and has his army out there marching ahead of me.
My bees arrived unannounced last Saturday afternoon.
Evidently the overnight rainstorm encouraged them to rearrange themselves.
Austin is wondering exactly how Uncle Bubba talked him into this.
A girl in polka-dot farm boots called to say, “Mama Jan, we’re coming to catch those bees”.
A little sugar water is supposed to make bees happy.
6:30 is pretty early for bee catching.
Austin had never fancied himself as a bee catcher.
Slow is good.
Camera man ready.
Sugar cookies are good when you’re catching bees.
Okay. Okay. Okay.
Here comes a scary part.
Clipping off the little branches.
Considering the big branch.
Somebody’s gotta do this.
GO AUSTIN! Put those bees in the box!
See Austin run. Austin runs fast. Go Austin go.
Some bee catchers listen to Joe Scruggs CD’s while they wait for honey.
Austin is being ex*em*pla*ry (ig-zem’pl.-re)
Bee box filled.
Gotta find our queen.
Austin’s choosing a different career.
Helping those little critters into their new home.
Noisy. Noisy. Noisy.
Queenie? Where are you?
Her Majesty, the Queen Bee.
Scoot em on in there.
Mama Jan loves honey.
Sweet little honey bee crawling on my neck.
The end of our beeing morning. And all of God’s creatures are special.