Tag Archives: Moses

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #11

You know how it is.  You scroll through your e-mail – your social media feed – clicking away.  Usually, I ignore random pop-up anything. I don’t like to waste my reading time. But when  God winks, you have to blink and then sometimes double blink just to make sure you saw what you saw.  Come to think about it, there was another devotion that got those blinks started even earlier.

In Jewish tradition, this is the week they remember Moses giving Israel its final blessing before he climbed the mountain to return to YHWH.  I’ve read this passage a few times over the decades, but this time I really saw Moses as that preacher/teacher man that he must have been.  Here’s a bunch of people gathered around – watching him – waiting for direction – impatient – worried.  Some enthusiastically chose to follow.  Some were probably pressured to join.  Some were family members and had no choice. Some probably just wanted to get outta that ‘Egyptian’ Dodge.  In any case, LOTS of people, left their friends and other family members choosing to follow this Moses character and help him build a new tent.

Good people.  Untrained people. People of all ages. People who had only known slavery and abuse. Angry people. Stubborn people.  Confused people.  Sinful people.  Hopeful people.  Needy people.  Rebellious people. Luckily, people that didn’t have to worry about food, or illness, or clothing, or even shelter.  God covered those bases.  Still – all in all – it was a lot of people.  

I remember a few classrooms that were full of the same kind of people – just not so many.  I remember the frustration of having so many hands in the air – waiting for help – waiting for more direction –  trying to find the words that would explain what I had already said a dozen times before.  Lucky for me – kids are not quite as set in their ways –  not so fragmented  – not so clueless. Moses throwing those tablets really didn’t really surprise me when I thought about it.  After all, Moses was a human, too, and frailty is our middle name. 

“For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. ~Deut 34:12

Which brings me back to the second blink. Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach always signed his completed work with the acronym: AMDG?   Ad Majorem Dei Gloria. In the old days, when we were required to take Latin in high school, we knew this could be translated, ‘To the great glory of God.’ 

Seeing that little phrase threw me right back to 1971 when my college choral group started practicing the Bach B-Minor Mass. Our choir director pointed out that dedication because he wanted us to understand what Bach heard in his head as he wrote it. Little did I know that in the few months we worked on it my life would change. You see, two months after my father died, we performed that work, and for the rest of my life, nothing will ever surpass the Glory of God that surrounded me that night.

What if we looked at everything like Herr Bach?  Roll out of bed.  Feed the dogs.  Wash the dishes.  Drive the car. Do the same job we did the day before. Listen to whiny people.  Help a child with homework. Signing everything as we completed it with the initials, AMDG.

What if? 

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”~Lk 12:32

So there you go, and that is my prayer for pastors tonight.  In Yeshua’s name, I pray that you are able to write the acronym, AMDG, at the end of your day – every day. Whether it be after all the trips at all hours of the night, or the millionth complaint about the length of the sermon, or the gossip that is circulating in the junior high group, or the furnace that needs replacing, or the funeral that is coming tomorrow,  or the day that seems to have no end or money that is never enough. That somehow – like Moses, you are able to perform awesome deeds and mighty works that always reflects the Glory of God. 

 

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SCRAMBLED EGGS

I am SOOOOO TIRED, and I really need a revival of energy tonight so I can unscramble all these different messy eggs of thought into something edible.

“My child, listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.
When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.”~Prov 4:10-12

Egg #1: When you are feeling better after feeling crummy – if you are like me – you tend to overdue it. Walk the dogs. Mow the lawn on of the hottest days of the year. Take a long nap. Alright – so that last one didn’t really take a lot of energy, but it did remind me that I need to remember “wisdom’s ways” so I don’t stumble and fall when I overdo it.

Right now, our Koay is curled under my feet, our Ryndi is in front of the fan (which is where she lays pretty much all day long on hot days) and tiny Shadow is curled between me and the side of the chair. Eyes are heavy, thoughts are like scrambled eggs, but it is a good tired since I got devotions done and spent time in my private place of prayer.

Egg #2: I’ve been reading Rabbi Cahn’s devotional book that confounds me almost everyday with Jewish wisdom and how the prophecies of the Messiah and all the stories of the Old Testament confirm and enhance Christus Yeshua in the New Testament. I’m still turning today’s thoughts round and round – examining them from all angles and wondering some more on how perfectly they point to the perfect path of the Messiah’s journey. and His journey to return.

Journeys never go smoothly in my life. That is probably true for most of us. However as long as they essentially get me where I want to go, I’m okay with a few crazy detours that God or my stupidity might throw into the path along the way. I have a feeling the Founders of our country might have agreed.

Egg #3: On this day in HIStory, a year prior to the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress issued another declaration to King George on why they would be carrying arms in the future. Like many other baby steps the Founders took, they mentioned the foundation upon which they rested their arguments from the beginning sentence where they called Him the “divine Author” to its final conclusion..

“With a humble confidence in the mercies of the Supreme and impartial God and ruler of the universe, we most devoutly implore His divine goodness to protect us happily through this great conflict, and to dispose our adversaries to reconciliation on reasonable terms, and thereby to relieve the empire from the calamities of civil war.”~Jefferson/Dickinson

I guess since I’m yawning and kitten is stretching her claws into my thigh, I need to whisk these somewhat scrambled eggs of thought into a nifty conclusion.

I wish I had one.

Instead, I think I will finish with this – while governments and laws are necessary in this crazy world that has been colored by our sins, it is good to remember that Grace and Truth take those colors and wash them clean – which of course – makes journeys so much smoother and scrambled eggs much easier to swallow..

“For The Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Yeshua The Messiah”~Jn 1:17 [google images]

 

3 if 7:HOPE

gettysburg10One of the hardest things for me to teach in English was grammar. For most students, it is tedious, boring and a “When-will-I-ever-use-this-so-why-do-I-have-to-know-it” exercise. I understand that thought process. In Mrs. Swartzwalter’s 8th grade English class, I was thinking approximately the same thing – especially when we started diagramming sentences. But the more we did it, the more it suddenly began to make sense. Parts of speech began to organize themselves in my brain and the visual pictures of diagraming started sub-sets of categories that served as an invaluable resouce when I became a teacher.

Hope can be a noun or a verb. A person, place or thing or an action. Needless to say, because it has been used so often down through the ages, forms of it have also branched off into the adjective [hopful] and adverb [hopfully] forms as well. I can only HOPE this makes sense.

Moses HOPED to see the promised land. Jacob HOPED to reunite with Esau. David HOPED to build a temple. Zarcharias HOPED to have a child. Simeon and Anna HOPED to meet the saviour before they died. A woman HOPED to be healed. Jesus HOPED that He would not have to drink from the cup. We all have HOPES, dreams, aspirations. We all trust at some point in time that our aspirations or dreams will come to fruition in our life times..

“…but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.…” Rom 8:24b-25

In the Bible, HOPE is more a verb than anything else. It is not a passive wish. It is not idle. It is not just sitting in our living room, watching TV, waiting for it to arrive in our lives. It is not an escape from reality. If our HOPE is Biblical, it is based on the trust that all God’s promises will be fullfilled. That kind of HOPE directs our paths into action – how we see ourselves – what values we hold – what we do with our time and gifts. Hope is active.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me. ~ Emily Dickinson, 1861light-hope_00332387

VOiCE

“In the circle of successful living, prayer is the hub that holds the wheel together.  Without our contact with God, we are nothing.  With it, we are little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor.”  Conrad Hilton in his autobiography, Be My Guest.”

This quote was one of the first things I read this morning.  I was surprised.  I had no idea that that Conrad Hilton (think Hilton Hotels) had written an autobiography, or better yet, that he was a prayer warrior.  Believe me, if I had known he had written an autobiography, I would have been using parts of it to teach my students every year as we worked on our autobiography unit.   I often use quotes or  portions of books when I teach: Ben Franklin – Fredrick Douglas – Eli Weisel –  Roald Dahl – Maya Angelou – Taylor Caldwell – various presidents (yes, even President Obama for those of you who are wondering) and, not to mention, pop culture idols (Michael Oher, I Beat the Odds).  Nothing like using the words of successful people to motivate students.  So Conrad Hilton, I will be adding one more book to my bucket list as soon as I finish this.

I know I have said this before, but I still miss teaching.  I liked teaching about writing –  which is weird because my first year of teaching – I remember skipping all the writing portions of the English book.  It made me uncomfortable.  They didn’t teach me how to grade writing in my course work during college…then again…maybe I just wasn’t listening that day.  I wasn’t the greatest student (I think I mentioned that a few times in class – if any of my former students are reading this).  Eventually, it became one of my favorite things to teach…especially when we were talking about VOICE.  Every writer has a voice and watching students develop their voice was always fun.

“Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire.  You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.”  Deut 4:12

Moses is wrapping things up in Deuteronomy.  He wants to make sure that this tribe of people that he has been in charge of for the past 50 years, remembers what is important when they get to the Promised Land.  He knows they depend on him, and he knows that he won’t be with them as they enter this beautiful new land.  In a sense, Moses is writing his autobiography, just like we write our autobiography every day.  Maybe we don’t physically put a pen to paper and write, but it is recorded in the Book of Life and God hears our voice.  The good news is He is always speaking to us.  “It just – some of them [us] don’t hear so well,”as Racetrack said in Newsies (I think I remembered that quote right).  In the Bible though, David heard His voice real well:

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;  the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”  Ps 29:3-9

God spoke all things into being.  He sent His WORD to save us.  He left a book for us to read His words.  And if we are listening, He still speaks to us.  If we turn off the T.V. – turn off the computer –  put down the book, the phone, the gaming device, and maybe we can find some time to be still.  Can you hear the silence?  Let that slide by and listen to His voice today.  When we are in contact with God, writing our autobiography with Our Father’s Forgiveness, Grace and Love, the inflection changes in our voice – just like it changed the consistency and confidence of Conrad Hilton’s voice.

(Google images)hilton

Old Deuteronomy

Several years ago, when I was performing in CATS with a local theatre BookOfPracticalCatsgroup, Old Deuteronomy was the cat full of wisdom and grace.  Most musicals have a wise person passing out wonderfully timed wisdom to those seeking help.  Wisely, Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber had the sense not to change much of T.S. Eliot’s original poem, “Old Deuteronomy:

“Old Deuteronomy lived a long time;He’s a Cat who has lived many lives in succession, He was famous in Proverb and famous in rhyme, A long time before Queen Victoria’s accession…” 

Deuteronomy has never been one of those books that I spent much time studying in the past.  In fact, I spent very little time in the OT.  I just didn’t think it was necessary.  After all, I was a child of the New Covenant.   Jesus was where it was at…the narrow gate…the Way…       The sad part of this history lesson is that I don’t believe that my thinking is unusual.  Most of the churches I attended in my formative years (and I attended a bunch of different ones since I was usually getting paid to sing in their choirs) gave only a passing nod to the OT.  Besides, they only had so many Sundays to get across all those wonderful stories that happened between Matthew and Revelations. 

“Be silent, O Israel, and listen!  You have now become the people of the LORD your God…”  Deut 27:9b

Maybe it is because I always have so many questions.  Or maybe it is because I tend to rebel much more than most people would ever guess.  But the last couple of years, God has set my feet on this path of understanding the Jewish portion of Jesus, and why the Old Covenant is an integral portion of our redemption.  It has not been an easy journey (after all I do tend to be a little  – ok – more than a little – stubborn).  Reading the OT can be tedious at times and boring at best.  Timelines are confusing.  Names just don’t tumble off your lips.  And really?  All the violence and patriarchal society thing drives me nuts most of the time.  Just how does God’s people do all this nastiness, and He still loves them?  And then I look at me…and sigh.  If my life was miraculously dropped into the Bible, I would definitely fit right in with all of God’s nasty acting people.

“Old Deuteronomy sits in the street,  He sits in the High Street on Market Day.  The bullocks may bellow, the sheep they may bleat, But the dogs and the herdsmen will turn them away…”

Unlike the dogs and the herdsmen, Our Father doesn’t EVER turn us away when we seek Him out.  Our nastiness continues.  Violence — Wars — Terror —   yet — when God’s people continue to trust and put their faith in I AM, the miracles follow.  GRACE.  My Bible’s study guide says that the theme of Deuteronomy is “Devote yourself wholeheartedly to God”.  I keep trying to remember that as I am reading it.  It is a book full of Moses’ final words to God’s people. It was the end of the 40 year journey.  It was the start of a new life in a new country.  Finally, it is the land of “Milk and Honey”, and it was in front of them.

“Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants…’” Deut 34:4b

It is just something to think about as we watch the world unravel.

Lenten Journey #12

My 14 year old grandson made a wonderful discovery today and he wasn’t afraid to talk about it in a FB status. “Pretty gutsy,” as Grandma Mickey would say. Then I read all the Bible verses that he referenced. I found myself laughing when I got to one section of it because Moses’s words could so easily have been mine.

“He [Moses] asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now–if I have found favor in your eyes–and do not let me face my own ruin.” Num 11:11-15

There are so many times when I find myself ranting and raving and being very dramatic before my LORD…just like Moses. Especially, when I didn’t want to be on the journey. Looks like I’m in good company. This is also one time I wish I knew what Jewish wisdom says about this portion of the Torah. My guess – it’s just lucky that Moses paved the road for the rest of us. Our Father kinda knows what to expect of us and sent Jesus to make it a little easier. However, when I looked back at the first section of the Bible readings, Rabbi Jesus put up with the same type of whining from the Jewish people during his time on earth…including the disciples who argued over who would “sit on His left and right side” or how to “feed a multitude” or “save us from the storm”….

Faith is not easy when you are on a journey through a desert or through a flood, snowstorm, up a mountain…however you want to envision it, and I think that is why God gave us so many examples in His WORD. I used to wonder why in the world any of the “heroes” in the OT and even Paul in the NT were there? Most of them had some serious character flaws (not to mention the disciples who ran away when things got tough). And then I became a wiser adult and noticed all my own character flaws and how hard it was to stay on Our Father’s path. If everyone in the Bible was perfect, we would all give up. Even the disciples queried, “Who then can be saved?” (Matt 19:25) Jesus knows. Our Father knows. And that is exactly the purpose of the Lenten Journey.   http://www.biblestudytools.com/passage.aspx?q=Matthew+19%3A16-30%3B+Numbers+11-12%3B+Ecclesiastes+8