The Daughters of Zelophehad

The Daughters of Zelophehad “Then came the daughters of Zelophehad …” Numbers 27:1-7 These young ladies had listened to Moses attentively to Moses in chapter 26 now they had a question. They had no brothers and their father was dead. The question of inheritance was at hand. There was no mention concerning who would receive the Canaan land inheritance if there were no men in the family. If they received no inheritance, that would be slap on their fathers reputation. The girl’s boldness to enquire brought the blessing of God to their family. They would receive an inheritance by the authority of God. There are three things about the girls that stand out for learning and benefit.

  1. They listened to the man of God speak the Word of God. Had they not been listening they would not have had any questions about the inheritance policy. How important it is for us to listen to God’s word and search the scriptures when we do not understand. The Lord often admonished his followers to have an ear to hear the word. We listen if we believe it to be important. God has magnified his word above his name (Psalms 138:2). When we listen to someone we show them respect and honor. The best way to win with people is learn to be a good listener and the best way to win with God is to be a good listener!
 
 
2. The Believed the Word of God. It is one thing to listen it is another thing to believe what is being said. I have listened to some tall stories about people and couldn’t believe what they a had to say. The credibility of the one speaking makes all the difference. In the case of the daughters of Zelophehad they were listening to someone very credible. God’s word promotes faith and often demands faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). The children of Israel were not even in Canaan land when the announcement was made. There were still enemy occupants in Canaan land that had to be removed to possess the land. It took faith. Had they not believed the promise of God they would have had no reason to question their father’s inheritance. Faith moved them to enquire and the Lord blessed them.
 
3. They were concerned about their father’s reputation. Our father died in the wilderness and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves against the LORD… Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family…?” (Numbers 27:3-4) Are you concerned about your Heavenly Fathers reputation as you sojourn here on earth? Those who are will always find the blessing of God. The Father is jealous of you because he loves you what a blessing when you are jealous of the Father’s reputation because you love him.
 

My oldest daughter heard someone say something critical about her mother and I while at school and it bothered her. It bothered her enough to speak up about it and clarify the error. Are you concerned about you Father’s reputation?



Are You Looking For a Novel Remedy?

Are You Looking For A Novel Remedy? Naaman the leper had been told to dip in the Jordan seven times and he would be cured of his leprosy. Apparently he didn’t like the idea of jumping into a dirty river. He thought the prophet would gladly come out and do something miraculous and the leprosy would disappear. He was so disappointed in the prophets remedy that he left in a rage. Somewhere down the road one of his servants was able to reason with him, he said, if the prophet had bid you do some great thing you would easily have done it but now all he requires is that you jump in the river seven times, that’s easy. Naaman almost missed miracle he was looking for because he expected something novel in the remedy. How often the people of God miss out on a miracle because the remedy is too bland or monotonous? Go to church, read your Bible, pray with your family, tithe and serve others, seems too simple to solve a marriage problem but it works, seems too simple to solve an emotional problem but it works, seems too simple to solve a financial problem but it works. The main thing is that you get your heart right with God. Some people are more patient with a new diet plan than they are with God. Some people are more patient with the U. S. Post Office than they are with God. Remember, they that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint– Isaiah 40:31 God’s way works and God’s timing is best! Those that have given God time can testify to it. You may be waiting for God to change a person’s life and you have tried to be patient but they don’t seem to be changing. Friend, the question is; are you changing? If you are waiting on God he wants to change you first! It is amazing what you can handle when he changes you. Read: II Kings 5 and let the Lord speak to your heart.



The Release of Jehoiachin

The Release of Jehoiachin

“And it came to pass…that Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him out of prison, and spake kindly unto him…”               Jeremiah 52:31-32   What a picture of God’s grace! See him coming with long dirty hair and an unshaven face. See him with tattered prison clothes on his body. He looks nothing like he did when he first arrived as a youth. Jehoiachin has been in prison for thirty seven years. He is most likely fifty five years old now. He has known nothing but the hard prison life of Babylon. The memories of his life in the Jerusalem palace have been far removed. His day to day grind has changed him inside and out.   He is noted as a man who only reigned three months in Judah and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. This is all we know about his character before God. Yet God would not kill him but cleanse him. Jehoiachin had no idea he would ever be released, yet, the day came in his twilight years that he would no longer be a prisoner. He is released by a king of kings and is given words of encouragement from this king. He is allotted a seat at the kings table and is positioned ahead of all other kings who have been taken captive.  

He is given a change of clothing for he is no longer to identify himself as a prisoner but a prince. He is given provision for all the days of his life. God moved the heart of the king of Babylon to show grace to Jehoiachin.
 
“And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life…every day a portion…” .33-34
 
Can you imagine the new perspective he has after thirty seven years of prison life? Do you think he had an overwhelming sense of gratitude in his heart? Do you think he missed the prison life and chose to spend his days there instead?
 
The other day I ran a stop sign while out canvassing a neighborhood to invite people to church. A police officer pulled me over and had every right to give me a ticket but he gave me grace. Grace not so I could do it again but to be more cautious the next time.
 
The grace of the king was not to give him permission to go back to prison but to live in the palace. Do you know that when Christ saved you it wasn’t because of anything you did? You were saved by his marvelous grace. God wants you to live in the palace with his people and eat of his table (the Bible). He will feed you all the days of your life.
 
 
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in hrist Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towrd us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”  Ephesians 2:6-8


Removing Suspicion

Removing Suspicion

While tossing, turning and unable to sleep, he heard his wife’s phone ding. She was sound asleep, and she had just received a text message. While she slept, his curiosity got the best of him. He couldn’t help himself. He wanted to see who was texting her at that hour. It was sent at 1:00 a.m. from someone he did not know. The message was very personal, and the timing made it more suspicious. Needless to say, this did not help his insomnia.

 

In the book of Numbers 5:12-28, we find a law that God gave the children of Israel called the law of jealousy. This law was for the man who struggled with suspicion about his wife’s fidelity. In this law there was a protocol to help remove the suspicion. God promised that if the protocol was followed all suspicion would be removed. The woman would either be proven guilty or innocent. If the woman was innocent, she would delight in proving it. She naturally understood that you can’t have a happy marriage where there is suspicion. Trust is the foundation to any good relationship, but especially, in marriage. The home that is filled with suspicion is no longer a house of shelter, but a house of shadows.

 

You may say, why does the Scripture emphasize the suspicions of a husband? From the spiritual perspective, this refers to God’s relationship to his bride, Israel. It also refers to the Lord Jesus Christ’s relationship to his bride, the church! We know that God is faithful, but it is his bride that is the suspect in suspicion. That should clarify the subject for those who misconstrued the meaning of the Scripture. The primary issue in the passage is the principle of removing suspicion. If a spouse has a difficult time trusting the other spouse, then it is imperative for the suspect to remove all suspicion of infidelity. There must be extra care taken to prove your love, when you know there was a problem in the past. There ought to be extreme transparency on the behalf of the suspicious spouse (unless you are a secret agent, and your transparency would jeopardize national security)!

 

When we disclose all of our social media information to our spouse, we help build trust. When we communicate any time there is a change of plans at work, we build trust. Open and constant communication builds trust. We should not feel offended if our spouse asks questions about where we are or where we have been. Our body language conveys messages, and if we appear irritated by personal questions from our spouse, they may think we have something to hide. If you work with people and listen to their problems for a living, then it may not be wise to share all you have heard that day. Even in this situation, there is still a right way to communicate without exploiting anyone.

 

My counsel for the man struggling with insomnia is this: God’s love for you is never ending- Romans 8:31-39. God is able to expose the truth in his time-Matthew 10:26. Therefore trust him to do his work. Get to sleep. Show God you believe he is able. Pray about a good time to talk about the text, and let her answer- John 16:12. If there have been no prior infidelities, then give her the benefit of the doubt. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Finally, seek godly counsel, if you’re unable to resolve the problem-Proverbs



The Great Contrast!

The Great Contrast!

1 Kings 7:1 “But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.” The word “but” is used to contrast the previous statement, “…So was he seven years in building it” (The LORD’s house) 1 Kings 6:38. God wanted the reader to see the contrast Solomon spent in building his house verses the LORD’s house.  We know the end of Solomon’s story. He turned from God and brought oppression to God’s people. He became a very depressed man according to Ecclesiastes. He did not raise his children for God and when it was time for him to turn the kingdom over to his son the stage was set for a civil war. This text is not a commendation but an indictment of Solomon. His attention to personal grandeur had exceeded his attention for God’s glory. We do not read of Solomon seeking the Lord as he is building his house. He may have but it is obvious when he finished God’s house he became obsessed with his own home. I wonder if visitors paid more attention to his home or the temple of God. This may be the beginning of Solomon’s downfall.
 
Remember, when self gets more attention than the Saviour, the devil can take advantage of you. The tempter will appeal to your flesh to draw you away from God! “Demas hath forsaken me having loved this present world…” 2 Timothy 4:10. When selfish motives drive you more than God’s will, people will become your stepping stones rather than your ministry. How do you view the people that come into your life?
 
When selfish ambitions get more of your attention than God’s work, your work for God will become mechanical and not heartfelt. As Christians we are to live Christ centered lives. We are to look to honour Christ in all we do and wherever we are at. We are not to live a time clock Christian life. We are to live in constant fellowship with our Lord because He is with us at all times.
 
The equation for Solomon’s sad ending goes like this, Solomon built the Lord’s house and finished it in seven years BUT he was thirteen (number of rebellion)years building his own house. The reputation he earned for the good things he did for God was tainted because of fleshly indulgence! Many a great Christian has tainted his testimony the same way. When the exaltation of self exceeds the exaltation of Christ there is no telling how far from God you will stray!
 


The Story Ebed Melech

The Story Ebed Melech

We read about him in Jeremiah 38:7-13 and 39:16-18. Every word in scripture has purpose along with every story. Though there is not a lot said about this man there is enough to help us identify with him and be encouraged by him. He knew pain, he knew humility, he knew loneliness but he also knew God! The reality of his life story is that it took pain, humility, and loneliness for him to know God. The most important aspect brought out about his life, is that God knew him! He knew the pain of separation from Ethiopia and no doubt the pain of becoming a eunuch. This pain was compounded through the humility he must have experienced as a man who had been emasculated. He would experience humility as a servant as well as the loneliness from the life of a eunuch. Sometime during this part of his life he contented himself with doing his job and surviving. His time in among the Hebrews allowed him to hear of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He had come to believe the prophet Jeremiah and felt a genuine concern for Jeremiah’s wellbeing.

The day came when he would prove that he cared and believed. Jeremiah had been tossed in a dungeon left to die. Ebed-Melech heard about it and petitioned the king to help. Permission was granted and he rescued the prophet. He had earned the kings trust and favor which was no easy task.
 
In due time Babylon invaded Jerusalem as predicted, the king fled and Ebed- Melech feared but God intervened. God gave Ebed-Melech a promise of protection and provision along with his freedom. God knew his name because he trusted in the LORD!
 
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble: and he knoweth them that trust in him. Nahum 1:7


Ice in the Pipes!

Ice in the pipes! The other day during the sub-zero temperatures here in Lebanon Indiana, I heard this strange sound under my house. It was a constant grinding from a motor, I knew immediately what it was. It was my sump pump trying to dispel water to the back yard. The problem was everything was frozen outside even the pipes from the sump pump. I knew that if the sump pump didn’t get turned off it would burn out, so I got to do my favorite thing, sojourn through the bowels of the crawl space. There is nothing so exciting as getting under our house, I am being facetious. I had hoped that I could turn it off with a breaker switch on the wall in my garage but the problem was I turned off a number of appliances as well. Traversing the crawl space was the only solution, so down I went, crawling to the center of the house with flash light in hand. I unplugged the poor sump pump that sounded if it would die, and the grinding stopped. I knew I’d have to make a return trip once the ice thawed. This morning I made that trip and was a little concerned that the sump pump might not work, believe me, I said a prayer, before I plugged it back in. Glory to God! It worked! The water found its way to the outside again proving the ice in the pipes had melted. Yes, even in the winter our crawl space somehow gets a little water in it. We do live on Elm Swamp Road. I feel much better about my excursion under the house now that I know I don’t have to buy a new sump pump. You see, some things are not meant to be under your house and water is one of them. I do not need to go into the repercussions of having standing water under the house only to say, it stinks! Where is all of this going? Well, there are some things in our lives that are not healthy, they are down right stinky! Our fellowship with the Lord allows us to clean those things out. Yet there is a danger of our hearts getting so cold toward God and hence the inner cleansing is neglected. We lose our concern for a healthy inner man. If we are saved, the Holy Spirit will grind away at us to clean things up, but too often we turn off our fellowship because we have succumbed to the elements of the world. We are frozen spiritually and have no desire to get right. If God’s grace shines on us again, we are going to have to get down into that dirty place of our heart and be honest about what’s been going on in there. Fellowship with God requires us to listen, confess, and talk to the Lord. Once you have that going, it is very gratifying and healthy. You won’t have to worry about a stinky testimony! David had the answer for frozen pipes.  He said, “My heart was hot within me while I was musing (on God’s word) the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.” Psalms 39:3 Jeremiah said, “…but his Word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones…” Jeremiah 20:9



The Advantage of the Narrow Passes!

The Advantage of the Narrow Passes!

I was reading Gibbons book “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” on page 236 of volume one I found an interesting passage of how Persia was able to take control of the eastern end of the Roman empire. The passage said, “they had abandoned the advantages of the narrow passes of Mount Taurus”. These narrow passes were the only way into the wealthy city of Tarsus, Yes, that’s right, Tarsus. The same city of Saul of Tarsus. The scriptures referred to it as “no mean city” meaning it was not of ordinary value. It was a place that excelled Athens in wealth and knowledge.
 
It would not have taken a whole army to guard the narrow passes because an army couldn’t fit side by side in these passes. A small regiment would have made it difficult for a large army to enter the passes that’s why they were an advantage. Unfortunately for Tarsus and the economy of Rome the narrow passes had been abandoned.
There are only a few ways our hearts can be influenced and that is through the narrow passes our eyes, ears and taste. These are narrow passes that if abandoned the wrong influence will enter and corrupt us quickly.
 
Before David yielded to Lust, adultery and murder he had abandoned the narrow passes of his eyes! He had no Guard!
 
Before Lot committed the horrible crime of incest with his daughter’s he had abandoned the narrow passes of his eyes and ears when in Egypt.
 
Before Achan stole from Jericho and experienced the execution of he and his family, he abandoned the narrow passes of his eyes!
 
Before any faithful man or woman of God is destroyed by sin they abandoned the narrow passes!
 


Giving and Receiving!

John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heavenJohn 3:27 What a wonderful truth this passage gives us! John’s disciples were jealous for his reputation. They came to tell John that Jesus was baptizing people and his crowds were getting larger. John responded and said, a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. What can we learn from this:

  1. Everything we have begins with God and comes from God- Colossians 1:15-17
  2. We can only give what we have- Matthew 10:8

     If I have no money then I can give no money, unless I am the government (:

     If I have no love then I can give no love!

    This refers to influence, money, wisdom, possessions, forgiveness, etc…

  1. Some people have little to give because they have received little from God-Luke 7:41-47

     This is often a case of perspective. Yes, I understand a person’s perspective is their reality but we are guilty of a wrong           perspective at one time or another.

     The reality is that God has given us more than we deserve especially in Christ! We did not deserve Christ but he chose to       die for us, the just for the unjust, that we might be made righteous through him. 1 Peter 2:21-24/2 Corinthians 5:21

     The reality is, we have been forgiven much and therefore should be able to forgive much. We have been given much love       and should be able to give much love.

     Too often Christians think material possessions are more valuable than spiritual possessions but they are not. Luke 16:11

  1. Some people have received little because they weren’t willing to receive all that God was offering-Psalms 81:10

     God has offered salvation to all men but not all men want it. If a person refuses that gift he has refused the most important       gift. Jesus said, what shall it profit a man, if he gained the whole world and lose his own soul?

    Some people who have received the gift of salvation don’t take advantage of his other gifts. Such as the Bible, Prayer,            Fellowship with God’s people (In the church).

  1. Some people have received little because they are not faithful with what God has given them-Luke 16:10-11

     Why would God give you more if you are not thankful for, or faithful to what he has already given you? If he has given             health, a brain, and opportunity to work and serve him and you refuse then He is not obligated to give you anymore.

  1. If others have more than God gave it to them-John 3:27

    Regardless of what you think, you may think they don’t deserve it, apparently God did. You may think they got it                        unethically, if so God can take care of that as well. Do you believe God knows best? Do you believe God is just? Than why      worry about someone having more than you?

                                                                   

 


HIding The Cables and Cords!

Hiding the Cable and Cords!

There are some things that are unsightly that you can’t get rid of. Cables and cords from the TV, computer, and DVD player would be in this category. I feel my home is very comfortable. My wife is an exceptional decorator and I really enjoy relaxing on my couch. Our living room qualifies as the most comfortable room in the house. The windows, fireplace, and mantle certainly give it a peaceful feel. Yet, for years, I have left the TV wires and cables on display for all to see. There they are, on the south wall, below the TV, all tangled together going every direction. There are white, yellow, and black cables and cords to give the room that extra decorative touch. This was not her doing of course! Our youngest daughter asked me recently if she could pay to have those cables and cords hidden. She said, “dad, it’s an eyesore and it would cost only $100 to have somebody come in and fix it”. At first, I said, “sure”, but then thought… “I can do it”.

Lesson one, We can get used to things that clutter and dirty our lives. I had grown so accustomed to the wires that they didn’t bother me, but after our conversation, I thought… “they do look bad”. My wife reminded me that she, too, thought they were a mess that needed cleaned up, but I have selective hearing and didn’t fully remember that conversation. Oops!
 
“…Considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
 
Lesson two, There are some things that we can do ourselves. Why should my daughter spend $100 on hiding cables and cords when she could use it more profitable for Christmas gifts, such as books, golf balls, or fishing lures? I had decided that this was a project Dad could do. So, the adventure began, with drilling holes in the wall, fishing cables and cords through the wall and mounting the TV again.
 
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
 
Lesson three, There are some things we can’t remove that we ought to hide. Of all the cables and cords that I found in this tangled technological mess, only one was unnecessary. I don’t know how it found its way there, but I am sure it enjoyed the company. Had I not determined to fix the obvious eyesore, I am sure others could have slithered their way into the web, and I would not have known the difference. I was able to hide three of the cords in the wall but the rest were horizontal and I didn’t want to drill through two-by-fours. So I built a false wall for them to hide behind. They are all necessary for the TV, Internet, and DVD player to work, so I had to keep them. This does not mean they needed to be on display.
 
You may have some obnoxious relatives that you can’t remove, but you don’t have to tell everyone. You may have sins of the past that you can’t remove, but you don’t have to put them on display. You may have been hurt in the past, but that doesn’t mean you have to constantly talk about it. We need to remember that we don’t have to (nor should we) reveal everything about ourselves. It should be enough that God knows. Your life experiences good and bad have shaped your character and can’t be removed. If you don’t like who you’ve become then build a wall and be what God wants you to be. Social media has been the ruin of some people because they exposed too much of themselves. Be courteous to yourself and others, hide the nonsense that can’t be removed!
 
“So the wall was finished…” (Nehemiah 6:15) Nehemiah built a wall that hid the rubble and ruin of the past!