Tag Archive | salvation

City of Refuge- Numbers 35

There is nothing I love more in my study time than that moment when God shows up and jumps off the page of His Word…rich, deep and four dimensional. I love walking around it and viewing it from all sides as God rotates and turns that picture…I love reaching out and touching those moments.

I have been in a rut lately. I have been rushed to get the kids out of the house in the morning and have been making time with God in my prayer journal and maybe a small devotional written by someone else. Long, deep walks in the Word have not happened a month. It’s been a rough, sick, cold season. I am ready for the revival and awakening of life that comes with Spring!

This morning, a bloom sprung forth. My heart is racing.

I have said it before…I am a Old Testament girl. Some would say that’s crazy because Jesus doesn’t show up until the New Testament. But, I beg to differ. He is written on each page and in every historical account all throughout the Bible. For me, when the Holy Spirit shows up during study time- it is like “Where’s Waldo”. Instead of having to hunt and search…He reveals Himself in living color. Vibrant and alive. I LOVE mornings like this.

This morning, I picked up where I left off in the book of Numbers. Numbers 35 to be exact. The Israelites are camped on the east side of the Jordan and God is talking with Moses…leading him to prepare them for what’s ahead. They are learning how the land will be divided, who will divide it and where they will each settle. God just said that a portion of the land from each tribe would be given to the Levites: 48 cities in all. Of those cities, six would be “Cities of Refuge”. Three would be on the east of the Jordan and three on the west. If a person kills another person, the offending party could run to a City of Refuge until the trial. It is here, that they would be kept safe from retaliation until the trial was complete and judgment was handed down. In Numbers 35, the definition of murder was also spelled out. Intent was the determining factor. Accidents happen but, hatred and malice would not be tolerated.

I am going to challenge you to read this for yourself, therefore, I am not going to copy the whole text into this blog. Please open your Bible to Numbers 35 and read through the whole thing. Don’t miss a word- you’ll not regret it.

Let’s skip forward to the consequences:

If a person is found guilty of murder, that person is put to death. There is no other consequence. And it is spelled specifically that NO RANSOM can be paid to avoid death. Period.

If a person is found innocent, then they cannot go home. They must stay in the City of Refuge until the High Priest dies. Then they may go home. No ransom can be paid for them to go home early. The ONLY RANSOM for this person is the death of the High Priest.

Do you see it?? Do you see HIM!!!?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

I am still swooning.

The only ransom for someone found innocent by the High Priest is the priest himself. Jesus. His blood, death, resurrection…He is my ransom. He is my City of Refuge. The only way I can go to my Heavenly home is through Jesus. Believing on and placing my full faith in Jesus as my redeemer. Because of Jesus, I will be found not guilty. Praise the Lord.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. ” John 6:44

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6

 

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…just hang there for a moment.

Oh, mercy! A treasure hiding in plain sight.

Thank you LORD for such a rich morning with You. Too much to keep to myself. I pray that you will help me plant seeds in others that you may water and grow as I am learning to bloom where I am planted.

 

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The headless snake

I recently learned something and I find it absolutely fascinating on so many levels. Did you know that when a snake’s head is severed from its body it does not die immediately? If you don’t believe me look it up! (I’ll spare you the pictures. BLAH!)

It seems that because the snake is cold-blooded- it takes longer to die because their low metabolism keeps their organs going. I read that the eyes still dilate and they still respond (not involuntarily) to threats up to an hour after the head has been severed from the body. Yes, a snake head can still bite you after it has been separated from it’s body. When you Google it to see if I am off my rocker, you’ll even see a news story about a chef who was bitten by a head that was severed for 20 minutes. He died on the way to the hospital before he could receive the life saving anti-venom. My skin crawls just thinking about it!

Why on earth am I writing about this? Well, for me, it’s just another example of things…truth…that God reveals in creation.

Satan has LOST. His head was severed when Christ arose victorious over death and sin. So why doesn’t this world reflect that victory? The severed head is still biting. Satan still has a sting and the venom is still deadly.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2Peter 3:9

God wants to know you. He wants you to look at the cross and believe that Jesus came for YOU, shed his blood for YOU and conquered the grave for YOU. There is no time like the present.

 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim:  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, or, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:11-13

 

 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:54-58

While the body is thrashing and the head lashing and Satan is still biting…he doesn’t know he is defeated. It kind of makes me look at that story of the chef who died before he received the life saving anti-venom a little differently. Jesus paid it all…life saving, life giving. Will you receive him before you die?

 

 

The Tree

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:8-9

A few weeks ago, a friend drew my attention to this verse. It’s one that I think many of us overlook simply because there is usually one particular tree that gets all of the attention when we speak of Genesis.

“In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

“And”…yes, two trees.

The one we always hear about is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the tree that Satan subtly slithered into and enticed Eve to focus on.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

Genesis 3: 1-6

“Any tree”…there were many. The Lord created an abundance in that garden and Adam and Eve lived in the midst of that abundance. Yet, with a flick of his tongue Satan drew Eve to the tree of knowledge and convinced her that wisdom existed there. Wisdom vs. knowledge…if she had only known that there is a difference. All of the other trees in that garden faded into the background that day; including the other tree that grew in the middle of that same garden.

The TREE OF LIFE: the other tree placed in the center of the garden in the beginning of time. I wonder how close they were to each other? If only she had chosen to focus on that tree. Genesis 3:22 tells us that eating from this tree would result in eternal life. While Eve was faced with that choice so many years ago,we are still faced with that same choice every day.

Since the beginning of time Satan has been running this same play…distract and destroy.  Satan wants us to look at the one thing we don’t have. He does not want us to see and recognize the many ways that God provides for us. Certainly the LAST place he wants our gaze to fall is on that other tree in the center of the garden. Will I focus on the tight budget? Or the way that God provides enough to meet our needs? Will I focus on the turmoil and challenges in planning an event that will bring glory to God? Or will I focus on the potential that just ONE person will hear from God and be forever changed? Will we choose Christ? Or chase the knowledge of other things that are offered as counterfeit wisdom?

Jesus hung on a tree, nailed to a cross. But, he didn’t stay there. Conquering sin and death he is risen indeed- waiting for each of us to choose him. Choose the Way, the Truth and the Life or sin and death?

That tree of life -seen in the very beginning- is also seen in the end.

7Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:7

1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1-2

While Eve didn’t choose that tree- the tree of life- you can still choose. This tree of life…at the beginning, on the cross, and in the end…is still available and ripe for the picking.

Lord, thank you for the abundance you provide in my daily life. Help me to never look beyond the intricate ways you show Your presence. Thank you for bringing my gaze to the tree of life…who was, and is, and is to come. I pray that you will not allow me to become distracted by other things. Fix my gaze on YOU, Lord. wpid-20150328_184043.jpg

Joy to the World!

I just love this season.

When I look around our home, there are so many things that make me happy.

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Stockings hung with care

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Salt and Pepper Snowmen…

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…and window snowmen…

...and more snowmen.

…and more snowmen.

 

 

 

 

Their nativity...

Their nativity…

...and our nativity...

…and our nativity…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...both displayed together.

…both displayed together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful gift from a beautiful friend.

A beautiful gift from a beautiful friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A unique and vibrant nutcracker painted created with love by my son.

A unique and vibrant nutcracker painted created with love by my son.

But, most of all- I love the reason for the season…Jesus Christ. There is so much more to Christmas than giving gifts or even decking the halls with the trinkets around my home. They make me happy, but Jesus gives me true joy.

Jesus is the reason for the season and a relationship with him is the only source of true joy. 

Happiness is a response…joy comes from within.

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and forever. Isaiah 9:6-7

wpid-20141218_094624.jpgMerry Christmas! From my family to yours.

Fill my cup

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6

My sister is going to get a real kick out of today’s post. She is always poking me a bit because I see God in my soup…tea…leaves…He’s everywhere! Today, sister, it’s not where I saw Him…it’s where I didn’t see Him.

 

At the bottom of my empty cup. wpid-20141118_080343.jpg

 

This is my morning coffee. When I got to the bottom, I noticed a curious sight. It was ME! Well, my reflection. Look closely and you can see my eyes and nose along with my disheveled morning hair-do. I still have my glasses on. What a powerful picture! No, not me in all of my morning splendor…but, the reflection as it pertains to our spiritual condition.

When my cup is full and overflowing, my spiritual cup reflects what is above…the Lord himself. When my cup is empty and I am lacking…I see me.

In the morning when I sit at the table to study the Word and pray, He is filling me. He gives me strength for each day, wisdom (if I am listening), direction and peace. More God…less me.

 

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:5-8

On the days when I become distracted and put other things first, I become quickly depleted and frustrated. More me…less Him.

I am poured out like water,

and all my bones are out of joint.

My heart has turned to wax;

it has melted within me. Psalm 22:14

Only a relationship with God through Jesus Christ can completely fill that cup and satisfy the soul.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

Friend, I cannot stress the importance of seeking the Lord early and often.

Don’t wait until you get to the bottom to refill.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

You prepare a banquet for me,
    where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honored guest
    and fill my cup to the brim.
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
    and your house will be my home as long as I live.

Psalm 23:5-6

Today, I pray that I will replace the contents of my cup to contain less of me and more of God. I pray that I will continually invite the Spirit to refresh that cup as I seek the Lord and his direction and wisdom and that the goodness of Christ will overflow onto those around me. I know that if that cup becomes empty it is because I am not seeking the Lord and the only thing I will find at the bottom is emptiness and self. I pray that God’s reflection will be clearly seen in me and my interactions with my husband, children and others today. 

Now…about that refill…

Simply Scripture: Hebrews 13:20-21

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May the God of peace,

who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus,

that great Shepherd of the sheep,

equip you with everything good for doing his will,

and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ,

to whom be the glory for ever and ever.

Amen.