Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Honorin' Parents

O. T. #199  "Honorin' Parents"
Dec. 31, 2013
Exodus 20-Part 6
Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12


Saturday I spent several hours with my two favorite woodsmen. We weren't dressed in camouflage to hunt. I was in her red razorback sweatshirt and hubby was in his blue long sleeve shirt. We were out to saw up, split up, and load up wood for our two fireplaces in preparation for more winter weather. So the three of us loaded up in our son's old green Chevy and drove through the muck and mire from the melted snow. We went to the hill on the back of our farm. I filled two boxes and a bucket with smaller sticks and pieces of wood for starters of a warm fire. (Sunday's high is forecasted at 26 degrees.) What a wonderful day! The nippy wind blew, the sun was shining brightly, and eagles flew overhead. I picked red berries on a leafless bush for my white vase inscribed "grateful", which is sitting on my kitchen table. The only wild critters I encountered was a tiny worm at home inside a log. Thankful for no snakes or skunks!
I was singing to the Lord out there with the saw buzzin' and the splitter puttin'. I was grateful for Dad and Mom leaving me this farm to live on while I served the Lord the last season of my life. Childhood memories flooded my head of picking daisies and wild strawberries, heardin' the cows up with Dad, helping in the chicken houses, and talking to God on that hillside. How can I honor my parents since they have been gone some 16 and 26 years? By being grateful for the upbringin' they gave me, sharing their love with others, and serving our God. Honoring parents. Didn't I read that somewhere in the Good Book?

The fifth commandment which God gave to His children through Moses was just that-honor your father and mother.
Honor (kebed) means to make heavy, weighty, honored. (Young's Concordance)

This is an obligation as long as one's parents are alive. They must always be respected and must be obeyed while under their direct authority in the home prior to a young person's marriage (Gen. 2:24, leave his father and his mother). This commandment begins the second table of the law. The first four reveal our duty to God; the final six our proper relations with man. (Falwell)

This commandment has a promise-living long in the Promised Land.
It is extended to all ancestors in the ascending line-parents of father and mother to grandchildren to come. Rebellion is costly, and many have paid a high price personally for their rebellion against their parents. If the younger generations are constantly at war with older generations, the foundations of society will be destroyed.
[Reference: John Gill's Commentary and David Guzik's Commentary]

Are we teaching our children and grandchildren to obey their parents and elders?


Ephesians 6:1-2 NIV says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. " Honor your father and mother"-which is the first commandment with a promise-that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

Other verses on this subject are: Col. 3:20-21; Mal. 1:6; Lev. 20:4; Deut. 21:18-21; Prov. 13:24, 22:6, 1:8.

Do we want a long, blessed life? The answer is found here.
Parents have the responsibility of teaching their children right and wrong, God's Word, obedience, and modeling them.

Children are to obey God rather than men when abuse or breaking the law is involved. (Acts 5:29)

Parents are to be respected, as well as adults.


Do not be a rebellious person, but an obedient one.

Love God's Word; love our parents; love our children and grandchildren.

Respect my parents.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sewing on Sunday?

O.T. #198  "Sewing on Sunday?"
Dec. 30, 2013
Exodus 20-Part 5
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Exodus 20:8


As a young adult, I would sometimes sew at my sewing machine on Sundays. It was a relaxing hobby for me while the preschool children took naps. I had a deacon's wife scold me for such an activity. But to me, it was not a sinful act at the time. Now, I don't have the energy for such an activity and it would be work for me and I don't do it. Come to think about it, I don't do it any other day of the week either.  What does the fourth commandment say about this?

Every seventh day belonged to the Lord and would not be a work day, but one set apart (holy) for rest and for time devoted to the worship of Yahweh. The term Sabbath is derived from "to rest or cease from work." The historical precedent fro such a special observance was the creation week; a span of time equal to what man copied weekly in practice.  (MacArthur)

Deuteronomy 5:12-13 says, Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labor, and do all thy work.

It is taken for granted that the Sabbath was instituted before; we read of God's blessing and sanctifying a seventh day from the beginning (Gen. 2:3) so that this was not the enacting of a new law, but the reviving of an old law.  (Matthew Henry)

How was the Sabbath to be observed?
  • It was to be observed on the seventh day, after working six days.
  • They were to do no work in their callings or worldly business.
  • They were to make it a different day from the others.
  • All the family, children and servants, as well as the husband and wife were to observe it.
  • Even strangers (Gentiles) were to observe the Sabbath day. (Is. 56:6-7).
The Israelites were set aside the Sabbath day for worship and rest. Do we do that on our Sabbath day?


Sunday is not the Israelites' Sabbath (Friday 6 p.m. to Saturday 6 p.m.). Most early Christians worshiped on that day (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:2). However, as Christians, we honor Jesus' resurrection by worshiping on Sunday, the first day of the week. It is the new pattern of the dispensation of grace that we worship on Sunday. Experience teaches us that it is best for our bodies if we have a day of rest for strength renewal. Our soul needs renewal, also.

Colossians 2 and Romans 14-15 teach that believers should not judge one another with reference to holy days or Sabbaths. To say that a person is lost or unspiritual for not keeping the Sabbath is to go beyond the bounds of Scripture.  (Wiersbe)

Personally, I need the time set apart from my regular routine of the week for rest and relaxation. Now, I have found that I need worship for my soul to be rejuvenated for the week ahead. Fellowship with other believers is needful, too. I realize there are times beyond their control that people cannot make it to a worship service, but that should not make this a habitual practice.

Our God and Savior deserves and desires to be worshiped. He should be praised and His Word studied. Of course, this practice can be continued daily.

Are we pleasing the Lord with our activities on Sunday? I try to do my regular shopping on other days, but we eat out on Sundays, too. So, perhaps it is best to seek the Lord in this matter. I don't want to be like the Pharisees and neglect the needs of others. (Jesus fed his disciples.) Yet, I want to honor Jesus with my life. You decide for yourself concerning this matter, friend.


Worship the Lord Jesus Christ on His day, Sunday, known as The Lord's Day.

Set aside time on Sunday to rest.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Valued Names

O. T. #197  "Valued Names"
Dec. 27, 2013
Exodus 20-Part 4
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh  His name in vain.  Exodus 20:7


I value my name. I have been using it and been known by it for some fifty odd years now. There are only two people which I allow to call me by my first and middle name. They are both good friends. One was a neighbor gal when I grew up, my sister's friend and a dear friend of the family. The other is a brother in the ministry whose wife passed away a few years ago. Her first name was my middle name. So I am honored when he calls me by both of my names.
What about your name?

The Israelites valued names. A person's name often reflected his or her character. God warned His people about the misuse of His name. God had revealed His name "I AM THAT I AM" to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. The Israelites decided God's name was too sacred even to be spoken out loud, or written. They substituted Adonai (Lord) in their reading of Scripture.

In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance,  LORD (Yhovah/ Yeh-ho-vaw')means Self-Existent or Eternal, Jehovah; and  God  (Elohiym/el-o-heem') refers to Supreme God.

Young's Analytical Concordance says God refers to He who is, read Adonai.

Taking the name of the LORD thy God in vain has to do with using God's holy name for purposes other than worship. Also, Christian ought to shun minced oaths such as the use of Gee, Gosh, and Golly. (Falwell)

We can break the third commandment through profanity (using the name of God in blasphemy and cursing); frivolity (using the name of God in a superficial, stupid way), and hypocrisy (claiming the name of God but acting in a way that disgraces Him). The strength of this command has led to strange traditions among the Jewish people. Some go to extreme lengths in attempting to fulfill this command, refusing to even write out the name of God, in the fear that the paper might be destroyed and the name of God be written in vain. (Guzik)

To use God's name in such a way as to bring disrepute upon His character or deeds was to irreverently misuse His name. To fail to perform an oath in which His name had been legitimately uttered (Lev. 19:12; Deut. 6:13) was to call into question His existence, since the guilty party evidently had no further thought of the God whose name he had used to improve his integrity.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible mentions five ways of taking the name of the LORD in vain:
  1. by hypocrisy
  2. by covenant-breaking
  3. by rash swearing
  4. by false swearing
  5. by using it lightly and carelessly.
God will Himself be the Avenger of those that take His name in vain, and they will find it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

How careful are we when we use God's name? Is it with reverence and love we speak His name?
When I hear someone use God's name in an irreverent way, I tell them not to speak like that about my Heavenly Father.


What does the New Testament have to say about this verse?

In Matthew 5:33-37 NIV, Jesus said, "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' but I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. simply let you 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

In what we call The Lord's Prayer, Jesus tells us to pray, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. (Matthew 6:9 NIV)

James repeats Matthew 5:34-37 in his letter, James 5:12.

The way our society is now days, the name of the LORD God is not often valued. Do we let it go by without bringing it to one's attention when they use it in a swearing manner, or do we stand up and defend our Lord and Savior's holy and honorable name?


Honor the Lord with my words.

Stand up for His holy name.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

How Do You Spend Your Day?

#196  "How Do You spend Your Day?"
Dec. 26, 2013
Exodus 20-Part 3
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.  Exodus 20:4-5


I will confess that there were several times in my life that I allowed my teaching career to be too important. It took up my evenings and weekends. I graded papers, planned lesson, worked on projects and enjoyed it. Oh, don't get me wrong, I attended church and even read my Bible daily, but I wasn't surrendered to God totally. I wasn't doing His will His way. I was serving my flesh, my pride. I was wrong to do this and I repented of this sin. In this season of my life, I now spend my mornings in Bible study and worship. (I only work a few hours a couple of days each week.) God has changed my desires and type of service. He has my heart, my time, my will. Who or what has yours? How do you spend your day?

In our last study, we discussed the first of the Ten Commandments. In it, God told us to not have any other gods before our Lord God. As I look around in our time, I see that various religions in our world. Some of groups of people have refused to acknowledge our God as the One and Only True Living God. Instead of surrendering unto Him, admitting they are a sinner in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ, they make a substitute god to worship. They do it out in the open, too.  There are people who worship a different god with similar characteristics, others worship a fat statue, some hold to good works, while others animals. Then there are ones who worship nothing, while some worship the devil.
Some religions have their own standard book as a substitute for our Bible. Then others have changed the wording of our Holy Book, making it say what they want and not what God wants.
Yes, won't you agree with me that this world is no different from the ones that existed during the Old and New Testament times? Mankind really hasn't changed.

John MacArthur had this to say, "all false gods stand in opposition to the true God, and the worship of them is incompatible with the worship of Yahweh."

With all that said, let's look at the second Commandment, which is concerning idol worship instead of God being worshiped.

Looking deeper, we find:
  • Any attempt to represent or caricature Him by use of anything is forbidden by our one Lord.
  • Artistic expression was not the issue, but idolatry and false worship was. 
  • The Lord demanded full and exclusive devotion, so violations would affect future generations.
  • He is a jealous God, according to verse 5, 34:14, and Deut. 4:24, 5:9.
  • Man-made representation which is worshiped was outright hatred of the true God.
  • As a consequence of their parents' disobedience, the children would feel the impact, even to the third and fourth generations. They would practice similar idolatry.
[Resource: The MacArthur Bible Commentary]

God is a spirit and cannot be represented by statues or any likeness. (Falwell)

The second commandment doesn't forbid making an image of something for artistic purposes; God Himself commanded Israel to make images of cherubim (25:18, 26:3). It forbids the making of images as an "aid" to worship. The use of images or other material things as a focus or "help" to worship denies who God is (Spirit) and how we must worship Him (in spirit and truth). (Guzik)

Do we make images of God which we worship or aid us in worshiping Him? Do we bow down to images, idols, as part of our worship? God forbids this. Beware of those who do.

Do we spend more time with our television, our computer, taking care of things than reading God's Word and worshiping Him? Is god only worshiped on Sundays, omitting daily worship?


Shall we look into the New Testament to see how we are cautioned?
  • John 4:24 tells us to worship God in spirit and truth. God is a Spirit.
  • Romans 1:22-23 is where Paul exposes those who exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like man, birds, animals, and reptiles.
  • Acts 17:29 instructs us to not think that the Godhead (divine being) is like gold, silver, or stone, or an image made by man's design and skill.
  • 1 John 5:21 is stated by John to keep ourselves from idols.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:7 and 14 is where Paul warns the Corinthian believers in Jesus to not be like the Israelites in Exodus 32, when they mad a golden calf and worshiped it.
As the first commandment requires the inward worship of love, desire, joy, hope, and admiration, so the second requires the outward worship of prayer and praise, and solemn attendance on God's Word.
(Matthew Henry)

The streams of mercy run now as full, as free, and as fresh, as ever. (Henry)
I would rather receive the streams of mercy from God's throne than His judgment. (See verse 6)

As deity, God cannot be captured in a picture or a statue to be worshiped. Neither does He allow substitutes to be worshiped instead of Him. Since God is a Spirit, we must worship Him with our spirit.

Does fame, money, or career threaten our loyalty to God? To what or whom do we give our time, our devotion, our heart, and love?


Examine my life to see if I have anything before my God.

Don't make or allow anything to be worshiped in God's place.

Worship, love, and serve only the One True God.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Following a Star and Finding a Shack

Dec. 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!
We spent last night with our son and his family celebrating our Savior's birth and enjoying all the things He has provided. I spent the afternoon baking and cooking. My husband wanted oven baked chicken instead of the traditional turkey or ham and deviled eggs. He fried potatoes and made white gravy. We had homemade rolls that my granddaughter had jelly on. Baked beans and cream style corn was for my son. I didn't forget the cranberry sauce in Mom's dish that is traditional. My daughter in law baked a wonderful apple pie. I don't need a turkey in order to be stuffed.
I miss our daughter and her family at this time of year. We will speak to them later. My brother in law and his wife are coming today for lunch. I think we will have left overs. I am tired of the kitchen.
However, I am going to bake his favorite, raisin pie. (Hubby's pecan pie is thawing out.)
Well, that's it from the farm on this country road.

Wait, I have to share some notes from my husband's sermon last Sunday, with Matthew 2:1-12 is the Scripture background:

1. Wise men recognize God in the shacks of life.
  •  It wasn't what they had expected, but they came to worship and worship they did! They saw God in that shack! They saw God in Jesus!
  • when life shatters your dreams, your first duty is to find the Lord. If you are His, then nothing can happen in your life that He has not allowed (Job 1:1-2).
  • When your star leads you into a shack, remember that God is doing one of three things:          
           1. Correction (Heb. 12:6
           2. Instruction (Rom 8:28; John 6)
           3. Perfection-He is still trying to mold you into His image.
  • When your star leads to a shack-Look for God, He will be there!
2. Wise men render gifts in the shacks of life.
  • It would have been easy for these men to have turned around, packed up all they had and went home. It hadn't turned out like they had planned. But, they didn't! They gave Jesus what was rightfully His!
  • When your star leads you to a shack, that is the time to give! (Mal. 3:8-10; Luke 6:38)
  • The surest way to get a blessing is to be a blessing! (Matt. 25:14-30).
3. Wise men receive grace in the shacks of life.
  • While they were there, they experienced two kinds of grace: saving grace and sustaining grace. God saved them and then He directed their lives.
  • When our star leads to a shack, we can expect to find God's grace in that hour of need (2Cor. 12:9). Life is seldom fair, nor what we think it ought to be. but, even when life lets us down, we can be sure that God never will! (Heb. 13:5, 4:15, 2:17-18)
  • When our star leads to a shack, we can expect God to provide leadership and guidance for us (John 16:13).
  • As God's children, we are never alone and never without recourse. He will always make a way for us and will support us through the shacks of life!
Have you ever been following a star and would up in a shack, surrounded by the debris of your shattered hopes and dreams? Maybe you are there right now. If so, let me tell you that Jesus is still in your shack. He is working on your behalf and is concerned about your need. Why don't you do what the wise men did, fall down before Him and worship Him.
[Resource: sermonnotebook.org]

I want to be like the wise men and recognize God in my shacks of life. I want to render myself as a gift to Him and others. I am thankful for the saving and sustaining grace which He has shown to me.

Friends, have the best Merry Christmas today!
I love you faithful bloggers and I am so blessed for having you join me studying the Bible.

Let's share the love of Jesus today!

Merry Christmas Friends and Believers in Christ!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So Much to Do Before...

O.T. #195  "So Much to Do Before..."
Dec. 24, 2013
Exodus 20-Part 2
Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.  Exodus 20:3


Christmas is tomorrow. Are you ready? There is always so much to do before the 25th of December. Church choir practice, parties and dinners to attend and cook, gifts to buy, cards to mail, pies to bake, candy to make, homemade rolls to fix before the planned time. No matter how much I plan, those plans seem to not work out. I'm probably not alone, am I?
When I think of why I do all those things, it should be because of love. I consider God's love that came down in the form of a human, endured pain and death for me. This was done before I was born. This was planned before the world and universe was created. Before.
Before means earlier than; ahead of; in precedence of; in advance, according to Webster's Dictionary.

I could ramble on, but before I do, let's take a look at how God used the word before.

Why has God given His commands?
  • He wants to prosper Israel and us so we can live life to its fullest.
  • They are designed to guide us to life's best.
  • If we love Him, we will believe, trust, and obey God.
  • God is love. Because of His love, His will for you is always best.
  • He is all-knowing, so His directions are always right. (Deut. 6:20-25) (Experiencing God Workbook by Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believers in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

This is why God deserves our complete devotion. Have you accepted this free gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ? Will we give our heart only to  Jesus, God in the flesh?
In Him and only Him will we have a merry Christmas.


David Guzik explains this first commandment:
The first commandment logically flows from understanding who God is and what He has done for us.
Nothing is to come before God. He is the only God we worship and serve.
Before refers to in face of .
This doesn't imply that they were permitted to have other gods, as long as they lined up behind the One True God. Instead, there are to be no other gods before the sight of the true God in our life.
In the days of ancient Israel, there was great temptation to worship the gods of materialism (Baal), sex (Ashtoreth), or any number of other local deities. We are tempted to worship the same gods, but without the old-fashioned names and images. God demands to be more than "added" to our lives. We don't just add Jesus to the life we already have. We must give Him all our life. Failure to obey this commandment is called idolatry.

John MacArthur says:
Before Me means over against Me. all false gods stand in opposition to the true God, and the worship of them is incompatible with the worship of Yahweh. When Israel departed from the worship of the only one and true God, she plunged into religious confusion (Jud. 17:18).

How is our loyalty to God? Who is the love of our life?

Priscilla Shirer in her book Gideon, defines an idol as anything in the visible, created realm that begins to operate in a role that should be reserved for God. The term idol can be called bad habits, issues, obsession, cravings.

What is competing for our love and devotion? What do we think about and work for? Is our job, our family, our material possessions getting more time than God?

Before we unwrap gifts on Christmas morning, our family has always listened as my husband read the Christmas story found in Luke 2.


Evaluate my heart's devotion.

Be sure that only God gets my loving heart first.

Thank You Jesus for coming to dwell among us sinful people.

*Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Part of Our Lives

O.T. 194  "A Part of Our Lives"
Dec. 23, 2013
Exodus 20-Part 1
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Exodus 20:1-2 KJV


What do we allow to be a part of our lives? My time is precious to me in this busy world. I'm sure you feel the same way. I have been really busy this week, what with cooking, shopping, wrapping gifts, preparing for THAT DAY-CHRISTMAS DAY. Can't we just skip the Old Testament and read a few red lines that Jesus spoke?
Why even study the Law if we are under grace? Weren't the Ten Commandments given to the Israelites for them to obey? What about us?
If we didn't have these guidelines telling us it is wrong to kill, steal, lie, commit adultery, covet, where would our society be? I think it's like asking where would we be without electricity, automobiles, computers. They are a part of our daily lives. So aren't the Ten Commandments supposed to be a part of our lives, too?

Civil, social, and religious laws were received by Moses on Mt. Sinai, orally presented (verse 3), then written down (verse 4), and read to the people. The Ten Commandments, known as the Decalogue, was given directly from God.  God spoke all these words. They are formed as a precept or direct command given in the second person. The Ten Commandments may be grouped into  two categories. The first is the vertical, man's relationship to God (verses 2-11) and the second is the horizontal, man's relationship to the community (verse 12-17). (MacArthur)

The Mosaic Law was added to the Abrahamic covenant later, but it did not disannul it (Gal.3:13-18). God did not give the Law to save anybody, because it is impossible to be saved by keeping of the Law (Gal. 3:11,20). (Wiersbe)

Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it the Law or the prophets. (Matt. 5:17)
There are some things the Law cannot do:
  • make anything perfect (Heb. 7:11-10, 10:1-2)
  • justify from sin (Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:20-28)
  • give righteousness (Gal. 2:21)
  • give peace to the heart (Heb. 9:9)
  • give life (Gal. 3:20).  (Wiersbe)
Are we trusting in the Law of works for our eternal life, or are we trusting in the grace through Jesus?
The Law is our set of standards for right and wrong. I plan to study each one of the Ten Commandments separately in future posts.


As Christians, how are we to relate to the Law?
  • We are not under the Law (Rom 6:14; Gal. 5:18), but under grace.
  • In Christ, we died to the Law (Rom 7:1-4) and have been delivered from the Law, so we serve in the newness of Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (Rom. 7:5-6)
  • Christ was made under the Law (Gal. 4:4-6) and fulfilled the Law in every respect (Matt. 5:17).
  • Since we live under grace, we are a son or daughter of God and must not become entangled again in the bondage of the Law (Gal. 5:1-4).
  • The New Testament law of love deals with inward attitudes. (2 Cor.3)
  • However, being free from the Law does not mean we are free to sin-liberty is not a license. We must use that liberty for the good of others and the glory of God (Gal. 5:13-26). By love we are to serve one another.
[Reference: Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament]

The Ten Commandments show us our sins and we cannot keep the Law. Thus, we see our need for a Savior, which is Jesus Christ. His blood cleanses us of our sins (spiritually). After we are under grace, these commandments are a guide for us.

What the Lord demanded of Israel then is still required of His people today. The only difference is that today we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to please the Lord and forgiven by grace when we sin. (Falwell)

Are my inward attitudes that of love towards God and others? In  Matthew 27:37-40, Jesus tells us to love God and love our neighbor. These are the greatest of the commandments.
Since God is gracious to me, I am to be gracious to others. Grace is unmerited favor, what we don't deserve.


Love God and love others.

Show grace to others.

Make the Ten Commandments a part of my life.

Friday, December 20, 2013


O.T. #192  "Smoke"
Dec. 20, 2013
Exodus 19-Part 6
And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
Exodus 19:18 KJV


When I open the door to the insert of our fireplace, smoke usually comes out. That is what the fire produces, smoke and heat. If I remember, I open the damper before the door. This opens this metal piece which is over the wood. It allows the smoke to go up into the chimney instead of the doors. There are other places where I have seen smoke, a house on fire, a car on fire, an outdoor fire for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Smoke is a good clue to us that there is a fire present. And so it was on Mt. Sinai, when God met the Israelites. Get your cup of coffee, tea, or chocolate and join me by the fireplace as we read further.

The Israelites had camped near Mt. Sinai. Moses told them how to prepare for their meeting. The people had two days to get ready. It was a the meeting of a Holy God and standing before Him. They sanctified themselves, set apart, cleaned their clothes, abstained from sex. It was a special day, a special meeting.

How did God make His presence known to the people?
  • There was thunder, lightning, a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. It was time. Everyone trembled. Moses led the people out of the camp and to the foot of the mountain. 
  • Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke went up like from a furnace, the mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. He called Moses to the top of the mountain.
  • God told Moses to go down and warn the people so they didn't force their way through to see the LORD, and many of them perish. The priests were to sanctify themselves.
  • Moses reminded the LORD that He instructed them to put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.
  • Then the LORD told Moses to go down and bring Aaron up with him, but don't let the priests and people come up. Moses obeyed.
God's message was that the people learn to respect God and to reverence Him. He is to be set apart. Moses went down and communicated that to the people again.  (Falwell)

Why did the LORD choose to meet with His people at Mount Sinai?
This remarkable manifestation of God's presence established a healthy fear of Almighty God. A wholesome respect for the all-powerful Judge is a marvelous deterrent to giving in to sin.  (Swindoll)

Exodus 20:20  says, And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

In other words, God came in order to test them, so the fear of Him remained in them, so they would not sin.

There was another time that the LORD came down to the people. He came in the form of a human baby, as Jesus Christ. That is why we celebrate Christmas.

Do we have a healthy fear of God?
 Do we realize that the very God who spoke everything in existence and created us, could release His judgment upon us and remove our breath at any given second?
Are we listening to His Word and Spirit and obey them?


Just as Moses met with the Lord at a special place and time, so should believers. We may call our meeting a quiet time, a devotional, or communion. Whatever we entitle it, that regular meeting needs to be daily.
Swindoll says:
  • To meet regularly with God, you need a place. It may be a room in your home, a spot in your office, or a place outdoors. But whatever the location, it should be accessible, private, quiet, and conducive to study and prayer.
  • To approach God, you need to be prepared. You should never come to the Lord with an idle mind or a flippant attitude. When you approach His throne, go with the willingness to obey, the sensitivity to hear, the desire to be cleansed, and the attitude of respect He deserves.
  • To hear from God, you need the Scriptures. The only written revelation we have from God is the Bible. You need to take the time to read, study, and apply the infallible Word.
  • To remember what God says, you need a journal. This should be a record of your spiritual walk with God, not a diary of your daily activities.
Jesus spent time with His Father, usually alone in a garden, early in the morning. How about us?


Prepare for the day by meeting with the Father.

Study His Word. Memorize it.

Pray, laying my petitions at the feet of Jesus, with humility.

Respect our Holy God in word and deeds.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Filthy Car and a Filthy Heart

O.T. #192  "A Filthy Car and a Filthy Heart"
Dec. 19, 2013
Exodus 19-Part 6
And the LORD said unto Moses, God unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes. Exodus 19:10 KJV


After the 8-10 inches of snow melted this week, my country dirt road is a muddy mess. My car is a brown, muddy, filthy mess from driving on it.  It needs to go through a car wash and get cleaned up. Yet, my car  reminds me of myself. My thoughts, words, and actions have been a muddy mess, too. (And it's Christmas time!) I need a cleaning up, too. That's when I head to my little computer room. It is also my sanctuary at home. There I meet with Jesus and get my heart cleansed from all that filthy sin. He is so faithful to forgive me. Then I proceed to worship God. The Israelites were told to do so. Let's check it out.

In this chapter, God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai. He presented a conditional covenant, to which the Israelites agreed. All that the LORD spoke, they would do. In verses 9-13, we see Moses going again upon the mountain to talk with Almighty God.
God gave instructions for the sanctification, setting apart, of the people before the giving of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
What did the LORD tell Moses?
  • God would come to Moses in a dense cloud.
  • This was  so the people would hear Him speaking to Moses.
  • They would always put their trust in Moses.
Do we hear God speak to us by the Holy Spirit? Do we trust His messengers to relay God's message to us? Are we listening to what God tells us. Are we willing to obey it?


The LORD told Moses what the people were to do:
  • Sanctify the people today and tomorrow.
  • Have them wash their clothes.
  • Tell them to be ready by the third day, for the LORD would come down on Mt. Sinai in the sight of the people.
  • Set boundaries, put limits for the people around the mountain.
  • The people are not to go up to the mountain, touch the foot or border of it.
  • Whoever touches the mountain will be put to death, by stoning or shot with arrows.
  • Do not lay a hand on that person or animal-they shall not live.
  • Only when the ram's horn sounds a long blast may they go up to the mountain.
Sanctify, in Hebrew is the word qadash (kaw-dash'), means to be clean, to make, pronounce, or observe clean (ceremonially or morally); consecrate, hallow, be/keep holy, prepare, purify one self.
(Strong's Concordance)

Moses gave the people the requirements. He added to the list that they were to abstain from sexual relations. (verse 15b) All of this was so the people would not be able to accuse Moses of compiling the law and that he had not met on the mountain with the Lord. This was a serious two day special preparation.

The inward preparation for meeting with God was mirrored in the outward actions of maintaining bodily cleanliness. The proper approach to a holy God could not have been better emphasized than by imposing a death penalty upon those who violated the arbitrary boundaries which God had set around the mountain. (MacArthur)

Preparing to meet God, we should have:
  • a willingness to obey (verses 5-8)
  • a sensitivity to hear (verse 9)
  • a consecration of heart (verse 10-11)
  • a respect for God (verse 12).  (Swindoll)

What is our attitude toward going to the house of God to worship? Do we prepare ourselves before hand? What does our outward appearance say about our inward attitude and heart?
Do we worship God in the quietness of our home? Do we take time to study His Word? Are we listening to His instructions for our day? Don't neglect our public worship on Sundays, though.
After all, Almighty God is worthy of our worship, praise, and love.


Prepare for worship. Let go of those bad attitudes, judgments, selfish thoughts.

Worship God daily and on Sundays with my church.

Praise God for who He is and thank Him for all He has done and provided.

Thank You Jesus for coming to earth as a baby destined to die for me.

Such love! I love You Jesus!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Promises, Pledges, Oaths

O. T. #191  "Promises, Pledges, Oaths"
Dec. 18, 2013
Exodus 19-Part 5
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.  Exodus 19:6 KJV


Have you ever taken an oath? I did when I served on a jury and another time when I was a potential juror. I said a pledge of faithfulness of marriage when on my wedding day. We signed papers promising to repay loans throughout our years. Are there any others that I am leaving out? We don't call these promises, pledges, oaths a covenant, like the Bible does. Israel was taking a conditional covenant with God in this chapter. Let's take a closer look.

The three titles which God gave to the children of Israel were a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.
These summarized the divine blessings which such a nation would experience.
  • belonged especially to the Lord
  • represented Him in the earth
  • were set apart to God for His purposes.  (MacArthur)
As God's people we must be set apart, thinking and doing differently than others in this world.
Israel was to be a holy nation, saved from their sins, righteous in their conduct, holy in their hearts. They were to be a kingdom with God as their king; a nation of people united together with order and organization, having their own laws and religion.
[Resources: David Guzik Commentary and Adam Clarke Commentary]

Are we representing God to the world as His special people, chosen and set apart for His purposes?
Are we living as holy believers, living in God's kingdom in which He is the King?
Who is king of my life? Am I walking by faith in the Lord Jesus and not by sight?
Have you been saved by Jesus from the penalty of your sins? Have you asked Him?
Are you holy in your heart?
Are you righteous in your conduct?
Do you know the One who's birth we celebrate this month? He is the Savior. Is Jesus your Savior?


What happened next?
  • Moses obeyed God and told the elders what the LORD commanded him to say.
  • The people said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. (verse 8)
  • Moses told the LORD what the people said.
That was simple. Wait a minute. Did they stop and consider what was required of them? What God was saying to them?
They were to obey God's voice fully and  keep His covenant. If they did this, then they would be to God as a treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.

NIV gives their response, We will do everything the LORD has said.
(Of course, we know they didn't and weren't. It did not take long for them to break this agreement. While Moses was up on Mt. Sinai getting the Ten Commandments, they made an idol of a golden calf and worshiped it.)

Here is the case of  if you will, I will. God offered a conditional covenant to the Israelites.

A covenant is a vow, a promised oath, a treaty. (Strong's Concordance)

God made several covenants in the Old Testament times, with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David.
There were various kinds of covenants-blood (Gen. 15:7-17), shoe (Ruth 4:7-9), salt (Num. 18:19).
Jesus in the New Covenant.
Hebrews 12:24 NIV says, to Jesus the mediator, of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

The church participates only in the salvation aspects of the new covenant. (Falwell)

So, it is not the keeping of the Law that gets us to heaven or makes us right with God. It is the believing that Jesus' blood was shed for us sinners, in our place as payment for our sins, that makes us righteous, right before God.

This time of the year we should stop to thank God for sending His Son Jesus to provide our salvation.
Think on His coming in the form of a baby, mankind, leaving His home in heaven to walk among men.
What love!


Turn from my sins and turn to Jesus my Savior.

Seek His forgiveness of my sins daily.

Thank God for His gift of love-Jesus.

Share this gift of love with others.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


O.T. #190  "Priests"
Dec. 17, 2013
Exodus 19-Part 4
And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation.  Exodus 19:6a


The LORD God gave Israel three titles in this chapter: a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.
As a peculiar treasure, they were valued and esteemed above others.
As a kingdom of priests, they were near to God as they were employed in His immediate service and in intimate communion with their God.

What did the priests do?
  • They offer blood sacrifices for the peoples' sins. (Lev. 1:5-11)
  • Aaron was the first high priest of Israel; his sons served as priests; the men of the Levi tribe were their priests.
  • A counsel of 24 priests served in the Tabernacle.
  • They were not allotted land in the Promised Land when the land was distributed among the 12 tribes of Israel. (Deut. 18)
  • The High Priests made the atonement for all the congregation, others priests, and himself once a year on the Day of atonement.
  • The priests served as judges in Israel. (Deut. 17:18)
  • They were allowed to eat the offerings to the LORD by fire. (Deut. 18:1)
  • They carried the Ark of the Covenant-in front as the Israelites moved in the wilderness, over Jordan River, around Jericho.
  • They ministered in the house of God. (Neh. 10:36)
  • Aaron, Eli, and Samuel were high priests.
  • They presented the meat, drink, and grain offerings in the Old Testament times.
  • They read the Law in the Temple in New Testament times. (Matt. 12:5)
  • They betrayed Jesus. (Matt. 20:18-20)
These men were set apart from the rest of the tribes of Israel to serve as mediators and messengers of God.
Christian believers in Jesus believe He is our High Priest, interceding for us as He sits at the right hand of God, making intercession. He offered His own blood as the Lamb of God, for our sins.


Do we go to Jesus, confessing our sins and asking forgiveness of our sins through Jesus, and praying for others to Him?

1 Peter 2:5 says, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9 states, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Hebrews 5 tells us that Jesus is our High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. (verse 10)

That is why the wise men brought gifts of frankincense to Jesus.

Will you set aside time in your day to pray for others and yourself? Will you tell others about Jesus, our High Priest?


Believer in Jesus my High Priest.

Submit to Jesus Christ, offering myself as His servant.

Pray for others to believe in Jesus as their Savior.

Monday, December 16, 2013


O.T. #189  "Treasures"
Dec. 16, 2013
Exodus 19-Part 3
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is mine.  Exodus 19:5


Do you have any treasures? I only have a few that actually have monetary value. Most are just little things with special value to only me-gifts from my children, pictures drawn by my granddaughter, items my husband brought me from other countries, things friends have shared throughout the years. When I look at these treasures of mine, I feel the love expressed by the giver. So it should be when we look at the things God has given to us. We should feel His love showered upon us. However, am I thankful?

Three titles for Israel was given by the LORD:
  1. peculiar treasure
  2. kingdom of priests
  3. a holy nation.
They were contingent upon Israel's being an obedient and covenant-keeping nation. These titles summarized the divine blessings which such a nation would experience:
  • belonging especially to the Lord
  • representing Him in the earth
  • being set apart to Him for His purposes. [John MacArthur]
In Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, God describes  Israel:

  • They were a people dear unto God; not that God was enriched by them, as a man is by his treasure.
  • He was pleased to value and esteem them as a man does his treasure.
  • They were precious in His sight and honorable (Is. 43:4).
  • He set His love upon them (Deut. 7:7).
  • God took them under His special care and protection, as a treasure that is kept under lock and key.
  • They were given divine revelation, instituted ordinances, promised inclusively eternal life, sent God's prophets, His Spirit was poured out on them, He distinguished them from all people, dignified them above all people.
God would be Israel's God and they would be His people. God described Israel as His peculiar treasure. What a privilege to be valued and esteemed this much! And to be considered God's treasure. Wow! God loves us so much, friends.
Do we love God as a treasure? How much value do we put on His Word to us? Do we esteem and honor Him above all else?

Here are some other Scriptures: Deut. 28:12, 32:34, 33:19; Ps. 135:4; Prov. 15:6; Matthew 6:19-21, 12:35, 13:44, 19:21;


So you know that I had to look up peculiar treasure, don't you?
Strong's Concordance says peculiar means to shut up, wealth, jewel, special; treasure refers to a storehouse.

John Calvin's Commentary says peculiar refers to all things most precious, which is deposited in a treasury. A treasure is a peculiar possession.

John Gill describes Israel as: highly valued, carefully preserved, chosen, redeemed, distinguished from all others by particular favors and blessings.

The same principles apply to the Church. As believers in Christ and children of God, we are like Israel, considered to be a special treasure to Him. We have the same privileges and honor as Israel did in the Old Testament.
Peter calls us a "peculiar people" in his letter, 1 Peter 2:9.
God's church was purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:8

Because of all of this, we should remember 1 Corinthians 6:20:For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in you body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Doesn't this make you want to be a peculiar treasure of God's; to be one of God's peculiar people?
Yes indeed. I want these favors and blessings.


Forget about all those bad names I have called been called; let them go.

I am always a peculiar treasure to God.

Act and talk like a peculiar treasure.

Open up God's treasures and share them with others.

Treasure other people, loving them as God does.

Treasure God's Word.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Soaring Eagles

O.T. #188 "Soaring Eagles"
Dec. 13, 2013
Exodus 19-Part 2
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself.  Exodus 19:4 KJV


Please excuse me for talking so often about the eagles who come to the trees across the field in front of my house. I stand in awe of their (and our) Creator's handiwork every time I see them. Their body size and wing span is so astounding. Such a huge bird can actually fly. Oh, to see them soar above the trees, looking for food, then swooping down closer to the ground. The other morning, I observed a mother eagle and two babies flying together in a distance. If they flew too low, she would swoop under them in order to be there if they needed her assistance. She would carry them on her back if need be. It is such a gorgeous sight to see from my living room window. Now to think that God is ready to do the same for us if and when we need assistance. He referred to it in verse 4. Before getting into that, let's focus on the conversation between God and Moses here.

The Israelites were making camp at the foot of the mountain, maybe some R & R. In the meanwhile, it was all business for Moses. He went up to Mt. Sinai and God called to him out of the mountain. (The Hebrew word for God in this chapter is Elohim, which refers to Him as Supreme God.

What was God's message to Moses?
  • This is what he was to say to the house of Jacob and tell to the children of Israel. ("In employing this dual designation for the nation, the Lord reminded them of their humble beginnings as descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, who had been with them in Egypt, and their status now as a nation." MacArthur)
  • They had seen (first hand) what God had done to the Egyptians.
  • They saw how God carried them on eagles wings and brought them to Himself. ("Eagles were known to have carried their young out of the nests on their wings and taught them to fly, catching them when necessary on their outspread wings." MacArthur) Only one Lord did this. Any arrow of a hunter must pass through the mother eagle before it touched the young eagle. Other birds carry their young in their claws.
  • Now if they would obey God fully and keep His covenant, then out of all the nations Israel would be God's treasured possession.
  • Although the whole earth is God's, Israel would be for Him a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
  • Those were the words Moses was to speak to the Israelites.
The Old Testament believers were carried with a high hand and outstretched arm of God (as eagles' wings). While New Testament believers in Christ are gathered by Jesus as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. (Matt. 23)

Several Psalms talk about being under the shadow of God's wings. The cherubims' wings are mentioned in Ezekiel and Exodus 25 at the Mercy Seat.

Sometimes we need to be reminded who we once were (sinners) and who we are now (children of God, believers in Jesus Christ, child of the King).
Do we still recall all the things God has done for us throughout all our years?
Are we learning to fly above our problems on God's wings?
Do we trust God as the young eagle trusts its mother as they fly high above the ground?


In Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, these statements are found:
  1. God reminds His children what He had done for them. (verse 4) God is sovereign over all.
  2. He tells them plainly what He expected and required from them; in one word, obedience.   (verse 5)
  3. God  assures them of the honor He would put upon them, and the kindness He would show them, in case they did thus keep His covenant. (verses 5-6)
If the Israelites obeyed God's voice and kept His covenant, then and only them would He fulfill all the promises for protection and favor. The dispensation of law was clearly based on a conditional covenant. The quotation of part of verses 5 and 6 in 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 5:10 is by way of application and in no way indicates that the church has replaced Israel or taken over her promises. In Jeremiah 31:31, Israel was given a new covenant to replace the broken Sinaitic compact. The church participates only in the salvation aspects of the new covenant. (Falwell)

As I understand it all, it takes the Old Testament believers, the New Testament believers (church), and the Tribulation saints to complete God's Kingdom plan.
Do we strive to obey God's voice and keep His Word? Are we trying to please God?


Wait upon the Lord; mount up with wings as eagles; run and not grow weary; walk and not faint.
(Is. 40:31)

Soar like an eagle, above my problems, trials.

Obey the Holy Spirit.

Keep God's Word in actions, words, and thoughts.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rekindle the Fire

O.T. #187 "Rekindle the Fire"
Dec. 12, 2013
Exodus 19-Part 1
And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain...
Exodus 19:3a


Since we have had a week of ice, snow, and cold weather, I have been home watching my granddaughter (closed school) and the fire in the fireplace. My morning routine is to carry in wood from the front porch so I don't need to the rest of the day. Usually, the logs have nearly gone out during the night, so I have to poke around in the bright coals, to rekindle the fire. I spend time restarting it with sticks or a starter log if it is completely out, which takes quite a while. Finally, I add logs to the fire to keep it going. I enjoy the heat it produces, keeping the whole house warm. (Propane is expensive.) (That is why I am late posting.)

Isn't our Christian life like that? If we take our spiritual eyes off the fire, Jesus, our flame goes out. He has to rekindle the fire within us again. Sometimes He has to poke us to get it going. The Israelites had to keep their eyes on the fire, to see when it moved. Maybe the Lord wants us to get up and move into His will for the day.

Three months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites journeyed with God to the Mt. Sinai area. Here they stayed for about one year (Numbers 10:11-12). It was probably our May, June, or July. Remember that they followed God's cloud by day and God's fire by night as they traveled through the wilderness (desert) to their Promised Land.

The cloud was the Shekinah Glory sign of God whereby Israel could enjoy a visible assurance that the people were, indeed, being led by God. (Falwell)

Israel had experienced God's:
  • deliverance from Egypt
  • guidance to go
  • parting of the Red Sea
  • miraculous provision of food and water
  • prayerful victory over the Amalekites (Guzik)
All that happened to bring Israel to Mt. Sinai. Deliverance was for fellowship not so they could "do they own thing," but so they could be God's people, a new nation.

There are 57 chapters of the Word of God that is about what happened at Mt. Sinai. (Guzik)
I never realized that. The Israelites got to settle down for a while, though they didn't know it at the time. They had to keep their eyes on God's representation, the cloud and fire.

In Luke 18:31, Jesus told His disciples, before His final journey to Jerusalem, "Listen, we are going up to Jerusalem..." (NLT)
I read this somewhere and wrote it on a note card: We go up to Jerusalem to fulfill God's purpose, not our own. What seemed failure from man's standpoint was a tremendous triumph from God's because God's purpose is never man's purpose.

It's a reminder that I am where God wants me to be, whenever I get discouraged and want to leave or move.

Do we go when and where God leads us? Do we get side tracked while we are where we were sent? Or do we keep our focus on Jesus and fulfilling His purpose? Are we willing to move when He says move, and to stay when He says stay? Does Jesus have to get the fire going in us to get us moving with Him?


After their arrival, God began to prepare the Israelites for worship. His plan involved leading them to the right place and requiring of them certain commitments.

Verse 3 NIV says, Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain...

The sign which the Lord had given particularly to Moses when he was still in Midian (3:12), that God had indeed sent him, was now fulfilled; he was with the people before the mountain of God. (MacArthur)

Mount Sinai was one of several granite mountains in this barren region.

Young's Concordance describes the mountain as being located between the gulf of Suez and Akaba with three large mountain tops. Each has a name-Horeb, the northeastern one, St. Catherine, the southwestern one,. The wilderness of Sinai is particularily the plain Sebayeh at the south of  Gebel Mousa.

Strong's Concordance says, Sinai (Ciynay in Hebrew, pronounced see-nah'-ee) is a mountain in Arabia.

This is the special place where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

Do we go to the mountain of God to hear from Him? Do we desire a mountain-top spiritual experience with a Holy God? Are we willing to do whatever it takes for it? Will we set aside time to receive it?


Go to the mountain of God and listen to Him.

Let Him rekindle His fire within me.

Follow the Holy Spirit's leading.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Never Enough Time

O.T. #186  "Never Enough Time"
Dec. 11, 2013
Exodus 18-Part 3
...and they shall bear the burden with thee.  Exodus 18:22e


Is there ever enough time in December to get done all that you want to do for the holidays? I have already trimmed the tree after dragging it and those tubs of decorations out of the storage building before the snow hit. Yeah! I have my Christmas decorations up throughout the house. Awe! (Each year gets fewer because I have to put them away.) Plans for parties and gifts for friends, homemade candy, breads, have been made. (Cookies are on the agenda.) Yipee! Now as soon as the snow melts, I am off to fight the traffic and crowded stores for the family gift shopping. (My Rhode Island family's package is ready for mailing.) Yes! Oh dear, the Christmas cards have not been signed, addressed, nor mailed. Ugh! Why not just send my best wishes by way of Facebook and email? I'm tired! Wait a minute-where's the nativity scene? Where is Jesus in all of this? Hmmm.
Was Moses in the same boat as all of us mothers, grandmothers, wives, and employees or boses?

Moses was wearing himself out helping these former slaves learn how to live together as children of God. There were long lines waiting for his help, wisdom, and godly counsel. It was a manager's job, not salaried. He was working from morning until night, coming home exhausted, I'm sure. The people were waiting in long lines, probably impatient. It took an outsider to point out the problem and solution for Moses. Shall we look into it?

Jethro, Moses' father in law, brought family of his wife and two sons back to Moses after all the plagues were over, the Red Sea crossed, and they journeyed into Jethro's neck of the woods. Wait, there were no woods, only desert. After Jethro's conversion  to belief in Israel's God Jehovah, Moses went to work.
What did Jethro recommend to Moses as sound advice?
  1. Train new leadership to help with the actual judging (verse 20);
  2. choose only capable, God-fearing, qualified men (verse 21);
  3. personally handle only the more important matters. (Falwell)
Moses was robbing others of an opportunity to serve the Lord. He was also doing a disservice to his people, who otherwise could have had their issues resolved much sooner.  (Blackaby)

I know, it is sometimes easier to just do it yourself. That way you know it will get done, on time, as needed, without complaining, and worry. However, I have also learned that I am not superwoman. Oh, I used to be, but have retired, and handed it over to the younger ones. Yes, I used to work outside the home and maintain the home, teach Sunday School, lead the church choir programs, youth activities, fill in as pianist when needed, you name it, Miss Linda did it. Now I do a few things in my church, only work one or days a week, and have a hard time keeping up with household chores. I think you call it age.
How about you?

The only reason to perform ministry is that God clearly tells you it is His will. When you become aware of a need, do not automatically assume God wants you to meet it. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all that you are doing, you are probably doing more than God has asked. Pray carefully about the assignments you take on, so that you don't rob yourself and others of God's best.

Sounds good to me.

Where did I put  my CD's of Christmas carols and songs last year during the clean up? Just turn on the Christian radio. Awe, isn't it the most wonderful time of the year? Celebrating the birth of our Savior, His love and forgiveness.


Here are the details that Jethro spoke of as a solution to Moses' exhaustion and timeless problem:
  • Teach the qualified men the decrees and laws. (ordinances)
  • Show them the way to live. (way to walk)
  • Teach them the duties they are to perform. (work to do)
  • Appoint capable men as officials over groups of 1,000's, 100's, 50's, and 10's.
  • Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, deciding the simple cases.
  • Bring every difficult case to Moses.

Who are the qualified men?
  • fear God
  • are trustworthy
  • hate dishonest gain
*They would make Moses' load lighter because they share it with him, bearing the burden.
*Moses would be able to stand the strain.
*All the people will go home satisfied.

The new leadership training program was approved and put into action, and Jethro departed into his own land. (Falwell)

Sounds good to me-everyone is happy and no one is exhausted. Distribute the deeds. Good advice. Are we going to heed it? Today is not too soon.

Stimulation: If Moses did what Jethro recommended and God so commands then...

We have heard it, but will we do it? Can you lend me a hand?

Efficiency is increased not only by what is accomplished but also by what is relinquished. (Swindoll)


Ask for help.
Let it go.

Don't be so prideful that I must do it all myself.
Let it go.

Ask God what His will is for me so I do my best for Him.
Let it go.

Celebrate the birth of my Savior. Joy to the World, the Lord Jesus is come!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Taking on Too Much

O.T. #185  "Taking on Too Much"
Dec. 10, 2013
Exodus 18-Part 2
And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.  Exodus 18:13


Do you get weary? Are you meeting yourself coming and going? Have you ever taken on too much responsibility so you don't enjoy serving? Maybe it has become a chore instead of a joy? I think Moses had reached that point. Let's look closer.

I guess there is a controversy about Jethro's advice to Moses, his son in law as to whether it was of the Lord or of the flesh. Moses had an overload concerning his spiritual responsibilities. What was going on?

In the NIV, verse 13 says, The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.

In their devotional book, Experiencing God Day-By-Day, Henry and Richard Blackaby share this:
Moses was aware of the need for someone to settle disputes among the Israelites. Someone had to help those former slaves learn how to live together as the people of God, so Moses took it upon himself to meet this need.  Long lines of unhappy people, hooping to have their cases heard, stood before Moses each day. Moses spent day after day carrying the weight of his nation's problems on his shoulders. Moses was taking on more than he could handle. He was wearing himself out trying to do what was impossible for one person.
Do we sometimes take on more than we can handle in the long run? Is it hard to say no?


Judge means  execute judgment, defend, condemn, contend, plead, reason, rule. (Strong's Concordance)

Moses' father in law, Jethro, an outsider, observed what Moses was doing and challenged the wisdom of his actions. Jethro saw the time and work that Moses was putting in morning to evening.

Jethro asked Moses two questions:
  1. What is this thing you are doing for the people? It concerned his priorities. He didn't understand why Moses' judging activity had been allowed to supplant his central task of leading God's people.
  2. Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?It was a personnel question. He failed to see why Moses alone was judging the people.
How did Moses answer Jethro?
  • The people come to me to seek God's will.
  • Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decrees and laws. (Verse 14 NIV)
Charles Swindoll give us Jethro's solution:
You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. (Verse 18) Moses knew his judging task was exhausting.
  1. You represent the people and teach them. (Verses 19-20) Moses represented the people before God and should instruct them in God's Word and way. He could provide leadership for the whole group instead of individually.
  2. You choose some qualified men to help you lead the people. (Verses 21-23)
Are we praying for people? Are we instructing them what God's Word says about their situation? Are we leading them in the right way? Do I listen when others instruct me?
We will discuss these qualifications in the next post.

The reason to perform ministry is that God clearly tells you it is His will. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all that you are doing, ;you are probably doing more than God has asked. (Blackaby)


Delegate activities and responsibilities to others when it is feasible.

Listen when others give me instructions.

Hear what God is saying through His Word.

Lighten the load when possible.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Visiting In Laws

O. T. #184  "Visiting In Laws"
Dec. 9, 2013
Exodus 18-Part 1
And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses father in law before God. 
Exodus 18:12


I always enjoyed the visits my in laws made to our home. My mother in law was an ordinary woman, yet extraordinary. Her education was remedial, yet she read her Bible. Although she didn't attend church while they were growing up, she influenced two sons who became preachers of God's Word. Her love of God was seen as she shared with the needy; her faith in God continued throughout her battle with cancer, which took her life. She was looking forward to heaven, being with her Savior and family. In this chapter, we read of the visit of Moses' father in law. Shall we see Moses' response?

I wonder how Jethro knew that Moses was in the area, near Mt. Sinai. There were no cell phones, email, nor 6:00 news back then.
Who was Jethro?
  • He was the priest of Midian. Moses fled to the land of Midian after he killed an Egyptian soldier (Gen. 2). The Midianites were descendants of Abraham (Gen. 25) and intermarried with Ishmael's line (Gen. 37).
  • He was a descendant of Abraham through Keturah.
  • He had 7 daughters, one named Zipporah, whom Moses married.
  • He was the grandfather of two sons of Moses and Zipporah, named  Gershom and Eliezer. Gershom's name means a refugee, because Moses said he had been an alien in a strange land (verse 3); Eliezer's name means God of help, because Moses said the God of his father was his help and deliverd him from the sword of Pharaoh.
  • He was the owner of the flock of sheep which Moses took care of back in Midian.
  • His name is Jether in Exodus 4:18, and Reuel in Numbers 10:29, which were both a common version of Jethro, which means pre-eminence. (Young's Concordance)
  • He lived in the land of Midian, which was beyond Jordan, in Edom, the Sinai peninsula, and Arabia Petraea. (Young's Concordance)
It must have been several months that passed between the time of Moses' departing Midian and Jethro's visit. Of course, the 10 plagues occurred in between those times. I get the feeling that Moses was glad to see his father in law.

So maybe a Midianite was out taking care of Jethro's sheep one night and saw the lights of the camp of two million Israelites. Maybe the Lord sent Jethro to where Moses was camped. Who knows?

Quickly and thoroughly, the news of significant events in other lands passed from one place to another, very often via the merchant caravans which traversed the Fertile Crescent, or through ambassadors and other official contacts between nations. (MacArthur)

Anyway, Jethro shows up with Moses' wife and two sons.  How do we feel when our in laws come to visit? Are we glad when they come or glad when they leave?


After the customary greetings, including obeisance, or a respectful bow, Moses and Jethro fellowshiped in the tent. Jethro had already heard of God's wonders performed in Egypt, but Moses retold it all. (Falwell)

What was Jethro's response?
  • He rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians.
  • He acknowledged that The LORD is greater than all gods  either indicates great respect for Jehovah, or else a full salvation experience. (Falwell)
  • He took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, evidence of his belief. It is obvious that Jethro was no worshiper of Midian's gods.
  • He used the name Elohim, which means Supreme God,  instead of Yahweh, the unique covenant name for Israel.
  • Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Jethro in the presence of God.
Jethro is a Gentile rejoicing in honor done Moses and goodness done Israel. Although he could not share with the Israelites in their Promised Land, Jethro shared in the joy of their deliverance. He expresses joy and thankfulness to the Living and True God. (M.Henry)

Are we joyful, thankful, rejoicing in the gift of salvation that Jesus provides for us Gentiles? Are we sharing it with others? As believers in Jesus, we will some day reach our Promised Land, Heaven.
(I miss my mother in law and wish we could visit again in my home. But one day I will visit her in her eternal home.)


Forget the things that plague us.

Rejoice in the gift of Jesus and His salvation to me.

Share this joy with others.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Banner of Snow

O.T. #183 "A Banner of Snow"
Dec. 6, 2013
Exodus 17-Part 4
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nassi: For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
Exodus 17:15-16 KJV


I think someone said, "Let it snow." instead of let it glow. Folks, I have been maintaining the burning fireplace since yesterday, during frozen ice, sleet, and snow. So I was this morning, throwing a log on the fire. Don't get me wrong, snow is a beautiful change to me. It's the cold wind that I don't like. I am thankful today for a warm house, running water, and electricity. Our generator is being fixed, so I hope our power holds on. Otherwise, our pump doesn't pump water into the house and for the cows, the blower on the fireplace/heater does not blow heat, and I am using candles.
I know, I need to hold onto God's power. He is in charge of everything. The snow is like a banner over me. His banner over me is love, as the children's song goes. Jesus' love in all around me, then.

Isn't that similar to what the Israelites have experienced in chapter 17? As long as Moses held his arms up, praising God, the Israelites were winning their battle with the Amalekites. The power of God was holding on to the end of the battle, with the Israelites holding on to Him. Joshua led Israel to victory as Moses interceded in their behalf in prayer. Aaron and Hur aided Moses by holding up his arms with the rod of God. 

Moses wrote this down in this book of Exodus, he told Joshua what happened because he was on the battlefield and didn't know. What did Moses do next? He built an altar to God, Jehovah Nissi, which means Jehovah (LORD) is my Banner, for the hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD.

Do we lift our hands and prayers to the throne of the LORD? When in need, where do we turn?

Like Moses and Joshua, we have our victory not through our own efforts, but through Christ alone (John 16:33, 5:4-5). Moses alone on the mount could not win the battle, nor could Joshua alone on the battlefield: victory required both of them. How wonderful that we have the interceding Son of God who is for us (Rom. 8:34), and the indwelling Spirit of God who is for us (Rom. 8:26), plus the inspired Word of God in our hearts! (Wiersbe)

It takes all the believers in a church to fulfill God's purpose in reaching the lost. It takes Christians mingling out in the sinful, dark world to bring the light of Jesus. It takes you and me sharing the love of Jesus with individuals for them to experience God. Do we take time to do simple acts of love for a stranger?


Verse 16b in NIV says, The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.

The flesh will never be destroyed or eradicated in this life; Christ will give us new bodies when He returns (Phil.3:21). In 1 Samuel 15 we see that Saul's sin was in refusing to deal completely with the Amalekites; and 2 Samuel 1:6-10 informs us that it was one of the Amalekites Saul spared that killed him! Make no provision for the flesh. (Romans 13:14 NKJV) It is important that God's people cooperate with God in gaining victory over the flesh. We are told to reckon, yield, and put to death the deeds of the body in Romans 6. (Wiersbe)

Here is what Henry and Richard Blackaby have to say in their devotional book, Experiencing God Day-By-Day:
The Amalekites were the persistent and relentless enemies of the Israelites. When the Israelites sought to enter the Promised Land, the Amalekites stood in their way. Once the Israelites were in the Promised Land and seeking to enjoy what God had given them, the Amalekites joined the Midianites to torment the Hebrews in the days of Gideon (Judges 6:3). The Amalekites continually sought to hinder the progress of God's people and to rob them of God's blessing. Thus God swore His enmity against them for eternity.
As you move forward in your pilgrimage with the Lord, there will be "Amalekites" that will seek to distract and defeat you. There is nothing so precious to you that God will not be its avowed enemy if it keeps you from His will for your life. Saul did not take the Amalekites seriously enough, and it cost him his life.

So we haven't heard the last of these people (Amalekites). They don't give up easily.

Saul's disobedience in sparing Agag resulted in king Saul loosing his throne and life. The prophet Samuel killed Agag. A few years later, the remnant of the Amalekites raided Israel's southern territory, even capturing David's family. David killed 400 of those who escaped. Haman became a descendant of Agag, who tried to exterminate the Jew later in Easter's day. (MacArthur)

Are we on guard against our Amalekites? Remember, the Lord is our banner. I think of a banner leading a parade, a flag leading a country or group into battle. Jesus can be our strength as we face our enemies, trials, troubles. In fact, He can be our victorious leader, our banner.


Turn to God; let Him fight our battles.

Submit my weak flesh to God.

Hold onto Jesus.

Proclaim that Jesus is the Savior, Messiah, Redeemer of our soul.


Thursday, December 5, 2013


O.T. #182  "Battles"
Dec. 5, 2013
Exodus 17-Part 3
And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side, and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
Exodus 17:11-12


Are we ready for the battle that is coming? For Joshua, it was the next day. It could be today for us. How strong is our faith? Am I prepared to help others in their battle?

In verses 8-13, we read of the first battle the Israelites encounter after crossing the Red Sea.
Here's what happened?
  • Moses told Joshua the game plan. This is the first mention of Joshua in Scripture.
  • Joshua was directed to choose out men, and go out, fight with Amalek tomorrow.
  • Meanwhile, Moses would stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in his hand. Aaron and Hur went up the hill with Moses.
  • So it happened, as long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage.
  • Moses' arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up.
  • Aaron and Hur  found a stone for Moses to sit on. Then they stood on each side of him, holding up his hands.
  • Moses' hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. (NLT version)
  • Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (verse 13) Discomfitted means to overthrow, decay, weaken. (Strong's Concordance)

How did Israel overcome the enemy? They had an intercessor on the mountain and a commander in the valley! Moses' role on the mountain illustrates the intercessory work of Christ, and Joshua with his sword illustrates the Spirit of God using the Word of God against the enemy (Heb. 4:12, Eph. 6:17-18). Of course, Moses is an imperfect picture of Christ and His intercessory work, since our Lord never wearies and needs no assistance (Heb. 4:16, 9:24). Moses had the rod of God in his hand, which speaks of God's almighty power.  (Wiersbe)

Are we encouragers to those who need help in their life's battle? Are we intercessors, holding up our brothers and sister to the Lord in prayer?  Do we help carry their load, meeting their needs? I know so many who are doing battle with cancer, my sister, sister in law, our youth director, a friend. There are so many battles-diseases, abuse, financial, marital, family, spiritual.  Also, let's remember those who have lost loved ones this year and pray for them during this holiday season. I want to share the love of Jesus around me.


Why did the Israelites fight the Amalekites?
According to Deuteronomy 25:17-18, Amalek (descendant of Esau) attacked Israel's rear, killing the feeble and the weary, young and aged, in the back of their procession. God would not put up with them. The Amalekites had no fear of God. In fact, God told the Israelites to destroy the Amalekites and erase their memory from under heaven. (NIV)

What did God tell Moses to do?
  • Moses was to write this as a memorial in a book, referring to the book of Exodus. It was to be a permanent reminder of what happened at Rephidim.
  • Read the book aloud to Joshua.
  • He would utterly destroy the Amalekites, erasing the memory of Amalekite under heaven. (verse 14)
Do we read this account to our children and grandchildren?


Be prepared for the next spiritual battle-pray and read God's Word daily.

Help the widows, orphans, weary and needy.

Share God's Word with others.

Obey God's instructions.

Give God the glory for my victorious battle.