Friday, October 13, 2017

Watchman, What of the Night?

"...Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: turn ye, come." (Isaiah 21:11-12 ASV)

11. "(The Oracle Concerning Dumah.
A voice crieth to me from Seir:)
Watchman, what from the night?
Watchman, what from the night?

12. The watchman replieth: - 
The morning cometh, and also the night.
If ye will inquire, inquire ye: come again."

There are many beautiful passages in God's word. Written in the Old Testament this passage is still a beacon for today. A watchman was a person stationed on the top of the city walls in order to 'watch' for the enemy. Today's watchmen are God's servants. 

Why does God allow evil/bad things to happen? God's original world was created without spot or wrinkle. It didn't have evil, no sorrow, nor sin. That changed when humans chose to disobey God. Most of us understand that we are free to choose between doing right or doing wrong, and both of those choices have consequences for our selves--and sometimes for innocent others. Many in the world and this nation have chosen to turn their back on Jehovah. They choose to go their own way, and decide for themselves what is right or wrong.

Romans 1:21  "because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. 22)  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," 

Giving this people time for repentance, Jehovah has been long-suffering towards us: 

Psalms 106:14  "But  (Israel) lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert. 15) And he gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul." 

This nation has been blessed exceedingly above and beyond other nations, yet we can see evil growing in our days. As long as we allow evil to grow—it will grow. 
"Don't judge me, don't judge me, Judge that person behind the tree..."

No one wants to be told the truth. Therefore they don't call on the watchman to warn them, or they don't listen when the watchman does call them. They allow evil, and they practice evil. As people before us have said, self rule will only work for those who have Christ and self discipline. That is one reason why we haven't been successful in exporting democracy. Laws don't control human behavior, or human feelings. Only self-discipline.

The watchman replieth—the morning cometh:  The morning comes when there is a time to turn from evil and to choose good and right. There is a morning for repentance and salvation.

"Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee." (Ephesians 5:14 ASV)

1Thessalonians 5:1 "But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that aught be written unto you. 2)  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3)  When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape. 4)  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief: 5)  for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness; 6)  so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober. 7)  For they that sleep sleep in the night: and they that are drunken are drunken in the night. 8)  But let us, since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation." 

"...and also the night." When the grace of God will have ended, and the judgement of God has begun. 

1Thessalonians 5:9  "For God appointed us not into wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10)  who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." 

Ezekiel 3:17  "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 
~Choose life~
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall; Who's the fairest in the land... This is a line from Snow White made by the wicked queen preening in her mirror.

Mirror: "a reflective surface, now typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image".

We know what a mirror is, and we know what it is for. Most of us use a mirror more than once a day. We use it to check our hair, make up, beard, clothing—we want to know if we look right—on the outside.

James 1:23 " For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror:"

There are many who don't hear the Word, yet try to judge others as if they themselves are some great judge. Their standard is themself, and they believe that 'self' to be perfect. 

Matthew 7:1  "Judge not, that ye be not judged." They throw around this scripture (apparently the only one they know) as if it is the whole of the Bible. They must believe that it will insulate them from the judgement day. But it won't.  John 7:24 "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."

James 1:24  for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

We look in the mirror to see what we look like on the outside. We want to look the best we can when we make our entrance into the public spectrum. Do we believe that a perfect 'outside' makes a perfect inside? Most people will admit they aren't perfect, but do we believe other people must be?

 When we look into history, if a historical person wasn't perfect does that make their contribution in history null and void? If it does we are in trouble.
  • The greatest event in history would still be recorded: hint Jesus is the only perfect person.
  •   If only perfect people and their contribution were to remain, history would be small. 
  • We are judging people of the past by our present. 
  • Our judgement by any standard is flawed. 
Even with only one eye open peering into the mirror, none of us would be perfect. We have to be totally blind to think we are. Again, John 7:24 "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." Not that we can't judge at all, but judge with righteous judgement.

When we look into the Word of God we find that none of us is righteous, no not one. Why do we judge ourselves by one standard and others by another standard? Or as Stephen M.R. Covey has said,
“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.”
James 1:25 "But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing."

Too many have stopped looking into the perfect law, the perfect Word of God. They have stopped respecting God and are rejecting His Word as their guide for their lives. As a great prophet once said:
"Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 
(Matthew 3:2 ASV)
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Each Day

Monday is so exciting, being the first working day of the week, and Tuesday is as well. Since Monday was 'wash day', Tuesday was for ironing. The only place I remember Tuesday as ironing day was at my mother's home. Monday after the laundry was done, we would take the clothing to be ironed, lay it on a flat surface such as a table and sprinkle it with clean water. Then we would fold the outside in toward the middle (such as the sleeves on a shirt would be laid in the middle). Starting at one end  we would roll the article up and place it in a plastic bag or sack. After all of the 'ironing' was rolled up and in the sack, it would be placed in the bottom of the refrigerator over night. I don't remember starching the clothes, but we may have. I was only 5 and 6 when at that time frame. I've read that people used to wash starch into the clothing, but I just don't remember doing it. At five years old I began ironing on sheets, pillow cases, and handkerchiefs. When I was seven years and beyond, my sister and I returned to live with my Grandparents I had graduated to regular things such as shirts and dresses as well.
I've included two pictures in this post. This one is of a wringer type washer and the rinse tubs. At the bottom is a picture of a refrigerator such as one that we would have had when I was young. More on that later. 

At my grandparents house our wash day was different and so was our ironing day. When I was very small (my grandparents would have been 55 the year I was born, so when I was a five year old they would have been 60) I do remember the wringer washer set up on the front porch and my grandmother washing and hanging things on the clothes line. However, by the time I was 6 or 7 they were over 60 and pumping enough water to fill the wringer washer, heating it on the gas stove, and then carrying it out to the porch wasn't an easy task. At that time we began taking clothes in to the laundry mat on Saturday. We would put the clothes in the washers then go two doors down to Ed and Martha's locker and grocery store to do our shopping. That's where we had our meat butchered and stored, so we would go pick up our weekly allotment of meat and canned goods. There was a few fresh produce items, but not many. As we got old enough my cousin, Dakota and I would go across to the 'Drug Store' and read through the comic books. We got a 25 cent allowance which would cover the cost of one comic book and one cherry coke. After our time at the soda fountain at the Drug store we would go back to the laundry mat and help sort and fold the clothes coming out of the driers. We went home and did our chores and helped with supper. There would be three baskets of ironing, which we divided between my sister, my cousin, and myself. I don't remember sprinkling the clothes and putting them in the fridge at that point, but we may have done so. At some point we graduated to spray starch.

"neither did we eat bread for nought at any man's hand, but in labor and travail, working night and day, that we might not burden any of you: not because we have not the right, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you, that ye should imitate us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly, that work not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing." 
(2 Thessalonians 3:8-13 ASV)

One of the tasks we have done for quite a number of years is to raise as much of our own food as is possible. God has blessed us in that we've lived 'country' most of our lives. Although we have lived carefully, and raised our own, when I can afford it we take our chickens (that we hand raise ourselves) to a butcher. About fifteen years ago I went to pick my chickens up from said butcher and one of the helpers, a middle-aged teen boy was helping me load them into the back of my vehicle. I asked him about his job, and he said it wasn't his favorite job in the world. My response was: it pays and it's honest, be thankful for it. Paul the Apostle was a tent maker. He wasn't hesitant to work with his hands, and he encourages others to work as well. The work we were busy with when I was young wasn't always easy, but it had it's rewards and blessings. Scripture encourages each of us to work willingly at whatever work we find to do. 

Halelujah! What a Savior!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Monday Morning

Monday morning is so full of possibilities. Personally, Monday for me is a freedom day, not as so many portray it as a 'back to work' day. Monday is like a blank white sheet of paper. As a writer a blank piece of paper has so much potential. Or, it could be more like a white canvas waiting for the picture to be filled in.

In the days before time—as a young married couple—each day had its chore. Monday was 'wash' day. The laundry day. And an all day occupation it was. My first washing machine was a wringer washer. Now for ya'll younger gals that was a round motorized tub washer with an attached wringer. I would fill it with hot water, add the soap, and then the white clothes. Usually white shirts were washed first. There were two rinse tubs that stood beside the washer, and my first load I would set the timer for them to wash so many minutes. When that timer went off (those first years my washer was down in the cemented basement) I went down stairs, turned the washer off and ran the clothes through the wringer and into the first rinse tub filled with warm water. I would swish that around, working the garment up and down to rinse the soap out. Next I would flip the knob on the wringer to turn it enough and wring the garments into a second rinse tub, where I would repeat the rinse, and at last wring the clothes into the laundry basket. Before I carried the clothes basket out to be hung on the clothes line I would put the next load of clothes in the washer and turn the agitator back on. I always began with the white, then light clothes, proceeding to the darker colors and the work clothes. 

Since it was the days before time, we also used cloth diapers. That meant diaper pails. Each time baby's diaper was changed it went into a large what we called a diaper pail. It was just a round plastic container about two and a half foot tall with a plastic lid, and no handle per se. Most often there was either a small amount of laundry soap or borax or both in hot water in the pail. As the pail filled with diapers more hot water was added. At certain times, at least once a day, the old water would be drained out and fresh hot water/soap/borax would be added. I didn't wash diapers but once a week. (Remember I had to fill the wringer washer with hot water, and etc. and only did laundry once a week.) So it had to be a large pail, and we had a large amount of diapers. The diaper pail sat in the bathroom close to the stool. Pooey diapers would be emptied/rinsed into the stool then wrung out and tossed into the pail. Potty diapers just went into the pail. When it was time to carry the diapers down to wash I would wring each one out, empty the pail, and carry them down to the washer. They would be washed after the delicate and whites, but before the work clothes. 

As I said, with the first load I set a timer, but after that I just carried out a load, came back ran the next load through the wringer, put another load in, carried out, and the cycle went on into the afternoon. I had a big double line that ran east and west, and turned and ran north and south. I couldn't hang everything out all at once, but once it was full I could start bringing in the first hung out stuff. That added to the mix. Diapers dried rather quickly, and everything smelled so fresh and clean when brought in. 

Birds do seem to have a sense of humor, not that I care for their humor, but mulberry trees grow well out here in the country. Birds eat mulberries, then seem to take delight in trying to hit anything white hanging on clothes lines with bird pooh. I have had that happen more than I care to remember. 

Laundry day was an all day task. When finished hanging the clothes out on the line, there was the task of bringing them in. Late in the day I had clothes to fold and put away. 

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest." (Ecclesiastes 9:10 ASV)

"The appetite of the laboring man laboreth for him; For his mouth urgeth him thereto." 
(Proverbs 16:26 ASV)

"The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much; but the fulness of the rich will not suffer him to sleep." (Ecclesiastes 5:12)

"Behold, that which I have seen to be good and to be comely is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, wherein he laboreth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for this is his portion."(Ecclesiastes 5:18 ASV)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What Causes Glory To God?

Through out the scriptures we are given a history of humanity. It's a rather gritty history. Like a poor portrait that fails to cover the flaws so that we see the reality of the person; our heroes-- warts and all are included in scripture.

In the recent study of the incident of Elijah where we see his triumph over the defeat of the prophets of Baal. Shortly thereafter we note his discouragement and flight away from the threats of Queen Jezebel.

"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper-tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." (1 Kings 19:4 ASV)

Elijah has gone from triumph to tragedy. However, remember the Apostle Paul who penned these words through inspiration:
"And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ASV)

We as Elijah had done are wont to forget where our power comes from. It isn't who we are, but who our God is. Our strongest point is often our weakest point as well. How often do people glory in their 'strong point' to their downfall?

Just because someone is a great hero, they are not perfect. Another scripture that comes to mind is: "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."(1 Corinthians 10:12 ASV)

All no matter how talented are only earthen vessels. Earthly role models are not perfect.
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves;" (2 Corinthians 4:7 ASV)

  • Often the problems come because of erroneous expectations. These can be our expectations for ourselves, or our expectations for others.
  • We look at the earthly human story and wonder what is wrong with ourselves and otherselves because we find ourselves struggling, or worse we don't understand the struggles others are suffering. 
There are some take aways here:
  • In I Kings we see Elijah in chapters 17 and 18 as strong, productive, victorious, and occupied.
  • In I Kings chapter 19 Elijah is weak and famished.
  • After being fed by God Elijah is then commissioned by God.
Quite a few years ago (and several times since) I heard a sermon pointing to the sins of different Bible heroes. How each had feet of clay, such as Noah being found drunken (one time after the flood). I'm sure it was meant to encourage each of us that everyone has those feet of clay. However, as a student in a ladies class where Job's wife's famous one time speech is found:
"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still hold fast thine integrity? renounce God, and die."
(Job 2:9 ASV)

This dear lady said, "I sure hope I'm not remembered for one foolish statement I make out of my entire life."
Read Hebrews chapter 11. It's known as 'God's hall of faith'. Yes, God's heroes all were earthen vessels, but when it is all said and done, it should never be our weaknesses that define us.
James 5:17 tells us:

"Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (James 5:17-18 ASV)

You and I may be only one lowly person, but we need to remember it isn't who we are but who our God is. 

"Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working." James 5:16

Hallelujah! What a Savior!  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Elijah II

"1)And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the sojourners of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As Jehovah, the God of Israel, liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
2) And the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, 
3)Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before the Jordan." (1 Kings 17:1-3 ASV)

This is the first we see of Elijah. It is our introduction, but King Ahab and the people of that day were probably already familiar with the prophet. He was a Tishbite --indicates he was from a town in northern Israel. 
He was a sojourner of Gilead  a common man. A side point here from the Master himself when he asks:
"Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to behold? a reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft raiment are in king's houses. But wherefore went ye out? to see a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. " (Matthew 11:7-9 ASV)
This was John the Baptizer, a likeness of Elijah. 
"For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, that is to come." (Matthew 11:13-14 ASV)
What were the days of Elijah like? Wicked rulers (Ahab and his wicked queen Jezebel were top of the heap). The foundation of the nation was crumbling, the people worshiped Baal. There was no law and order, no justice from the rulers. (Naboth's vineyard I Kings 21:1-16) These were the days of Elijah. 

We are often reminded that we are all 'common men (and women)'. There have been many perilous times, and will continue to be perilous times until the Lord comes. Psalms 11:3 asks the question:
"3)If the foundations be destroyed, What can the righteous do?"
 -7 and answers:
4)Jehovah is in his holy temple; Jehovah, his throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5)Jehovah trieth the righteous; But the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6)Upon the wicked he will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7)For Jehovah is righteous; He loveth righteousness: The upright shall behold his face." (Psalms 11:3-7 ASV)
The important thing is not who we are, but who our God is.
Elijah: My God is Jehovah. 
We know who and what was Elijah's God. A burning question is who and what is our God? Do we claim faith in Jesus (Christian), yet live like practical atheists

Where is our treasure and who is our treasure? 
"for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also."(Matthew 6:21) 
To Be Continued 
Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Days of Elijah

 Elijah— his very name elicits mental pictures of strength and courage. He had the courage to face down Jezebel's prophets of Baal in the 'contest on Mount Carmel' and he showed the people that 'Jehovah, he is God'.

Did he think Jezebel would take defeat lightly? Did he think Ahab would be the leader he should have been? Neither of those things happened.

"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." (1 Kings 19:1-4 KJV)

"And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (1 Kings 19:13-14 KJV)

It may have been a lapse in faith. The key may lie in Elijah's answer:
  •  It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
  • And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 
Some times when we want to make a difference in the world, strife and conflict reminds us we are all but human beings, earthen vessels if you will. Elijah explodes onto the scene back in I Kings 17 where he confronts weak King Ahab. In Melchizedek fashion he has no parentage or earthly lineage. His name Elijah = Eliyahu or 'My God is Yahweh'. We don't know who his 'father' was, only who his God is. We know that Elijah has been jealous for the Lord, and Elijah thinks it's all over. Perhaps he thinks he has failed. Failed God and himself. 

This reminds me of Joshua when Israel is defeated at AI; and God's answer to Joshua:

7)"And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord Jehovah, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over the Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? would that we had been content and dwelt beyond the Jordan! 
8)Oh, Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel hath turned their backs before their enemies! 
9)For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will ... cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do for thy great name? 
10)And Jehovah said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore art thou thus fallen upon thy face? 
11)Israel hath sinned;..." (Joshua 7:7-11 ASV)

God gently tells Elijah he's not finished yet. God commissions Elijah to anoint Hazael King over Syria, anoint Jehu to be king in Israel, and anoint Elisha prophet after Elijah. God tells Elijah:  

"And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 
(1 Kings 19:17-18 KJV)
To be continued.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!