Friday, July 29, 2016

Joab And Jonathan

This morning my thoughts linger on stooges, and not the three funny ones. There is a servant leadership but then there is one that is absent of grace. That leadership values expedience and uses leverage.

David's general Joab had stooges. This man was loyal to David but not to God. This passage takes place during a rebellion in Israel. Absolam, one of David's sons, was trying to take his father's throne by force...

"And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. And a certain man saw it and told Joab, 'Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.' Joab said to the man who told him, 'What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.' But the man said to Joab, 'Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king's son, for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'For my sake protect the young man Absalom.' On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.' Joab said, 'I will not waste time like this with you.' And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him." - 2 Samuel 18:9-15 ESV

The nameless man was loyal to God and King but Joab's stooges were loyal to Joab. If you are stooge then you will end up with blood on your hands and guilt in your heart.

There was another man who was a noble leader in Israel. He also had an armor bearer in a different war. Notice this man's dealings with him.

"Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, 'Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.' And his armor-bearer said to him, 'Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.' Then Jonathan said, 'Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.' So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, 'Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.' And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, 'Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.' And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, 'Come up after me, for the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.' Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow's length in an acre of land. And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic." - 1 Samuel 14:6-15 ESV

Jonathan's armor bearer was no stooge. Jonathan and this man had a grace collaboration. There was mutual respect. There was faith.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." - Ephesians 6:12 KJV

Our enemies are not flesh and blood but there is a spiritual warfare that wars against our life. Our love and support for one another makes a difference in that battle.

It is funny that there is often a Joab serving a David and that man is high up on the ladder of leadership. He can rise so high that he often comes between you and the King. We have to encounter these men in our life. We must be wise in how we deal with them. Exposure is not often a wise option. If we opt out entirely then we miss out on being with the king.

Loyalty to God first is primary. Men of God will have blind-spots as anointed words flow from their lips. God lets these Joabs stay in the mix. Perhaps it is a braking mechanism of some kind just as he allows tares to be sown in with the wheat. God knows why He allows these things. We often don't.

Joab deals with a nameless man in 2 Samuel chapter 18 and we learn about integrity by being witnesses to this conversation.

God let us be nameless but loyal people who honor You as we honor those with vision in our midst. As we honor our Heavenly king and resist the stooge mentality we trust that our conversation will make You visible in the world. Give us grace collaborators God. We cast away the Joab mentality. Let it be far from us. At the same time if we must work near that spirit give us creativity to give things over to You as situations arise. Thank You God. We worship You.

You will deal with the Joabs in good season.We want to live our lives with clean hands.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Inconvenient Mission

I am reading Luke chapter 15 this morning...

"So he told them this parable: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." - Luke 15:3-7 ESV

This is the first of three parables. Next He speaks of a lost coin. Then after that is the famous story of the prodigal son.

Have you ever lost your car keys? Is it fun? No, It is a few minutes of panic and then if they are not found it is who knows how much time of compromised wranglings to either get into the car or find an alternate means of transportation.

What about losing a wallet, a will or an important document? The lost coin parable lines up with that one.

Then the parable of the prodigal lines up with a family dispute that ends in a person leaving (perhaps in an angry way) and not talking to the rest of the family for an extended period of time. Fun Fun Fun.

Let's be honest. All three of these things are huge inconveniences in the natural realm. They are drains on time and productivity. The 99 sheep aren't getting cared for. The lady of the house surely had other plans besides searching for a coin all day. The father wanted a happy peaceful home.

This chapter is really about souls not stuff and the recovery of souls will always have degrees of inconvenience. Jesus focuses on the eventual rejoicing we will feel when what was lost is found and we do well to have that focus also.

People, like sheep, need experiences that mature them. Coins need to be put in secure places. Families need to work things through and not live in quiet unhappiness. Souls need to be saved.

Evangelism is important. There will be rejoicing because of it. I think about my day today and as a man I want it to be productive. The last thing I want to do is go looking for my car keys or wallet. At the same time I know that people are lost and they need to be found. Like the prodigal son before he left home discontent is simmering under the surface. People want out but can't find a way out so they just cope from day to day.

Jesus is all about finding lost things. I know people who talk about how much they love soul winning. They talk to people everywhere and hand out tracts where ever they go. They have million redemption stories. I am glad for them and have had brief seasons like that but for the most part I find soul winning inconvenient.

I hate it when a sheep goes missing. It messes up my day.

Then I read this and reorient again. If my prayers are for a day without inconvenience then I am missing out because God has an inconvenient day planned. He is looking for sheep. He is under the couch with the housewife looking for the lost money. He is the Father who has two very different sons who is filled with longing for both of them to truly know him and not just live far away or close but in ignorance.

God, We need your mind. Shift our hearts. Fill us. Evangelism is not likely to become more convenient. In a team it can be social and fun but our profit is a payout of joy later. We want to be where You are. We want to think like You think. Give us divine appointments today and give us a flexible generous mind that is willing to step off our path to be with You on your mission.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Shame And The Soul

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" - Mark 8:36-37 ESV

A good question.

Guilt is when we can't face what we have done. Shame is when we don't want to live with who we are. It is self hate.

Our soul is who we are. We are souls with bodies.

Jesus valued souls highly. What about us? Jesus continued doing what He was doing until they hung Him on a cross. Then He gave his life so our guilt and shame would be covered and blotted out.

He loves us. Our soul is precious to Him.

Today I'm going to let God love me. I don't have time for shame. I won't sell out to guilt. It is finished. The cross has paid for my soul issues.

It has also paid for your soul issues. Jesus has a way out of our love/hate relationship with ourselves. It is called the cross.

"And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that I am?' And they told him, 'John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.' And he asked them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Peter answered him, 'You are the Christ.' And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, 'Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.' And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.' " - Mark 8:27-38 ESV

Peter eventually stopped selling his soul to preserve his life. He had better things to do.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Healing In His Wings

This morning I am reading Mark chapter 6  and Matthew chapter 13 and 14 looking at the parallels between John the Baptist's life and Jesus' ministry. It is very interesting to me.

"He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household." And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them." - Mark 6:1-5 ESV

"King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, 'John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.' But others said, 'He is Elijah.' And others said, 'He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.' But when Herod heard of it, he said, 'John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.'" - Mark 6:14-16 ESV

John had a primarily moral message, 'Clean up your act because God's kingdom is coming.' and that message got him is trouble because he was vocal about immorality on every level of society.

"For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, 'It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.' And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not," - Mark 6:17-19 ESV

Herod was manipulated into having John killed and then when he hears about Jesus it reminds him that he had a good man killed and his superstitious mind makes connections. Jesus becomes the ghost of John in Herod's mind.

The people of Nazareth took offense at Jesus in part because His message was not moral. Jesus had healing in His wings. John never had that.

Then I look at the world I live in today and see a similar dynamic. I am one of Jesus' disciples. There are those that look with familiarity and then there are those that associate Jesus with the ghost of a moral ministry. In the midst of it all Jesus is still healing. Healing took place in Nazareth but no 'mighty work' took place there. I think that mighty work is conversion and transformation.

Then there is a the culture that has blood on it's hands and when it sees Jesus it reminds them of that blood.

But the real truth stripped of familiarity and ghost stories is that Jesus is a gracious gentle healer who has come to be a lamb. He isn't the boy who lived next door and he isn't a resuscitated morality.

Those who walked with him then knew that and so do those who walk with him now. He heals. I wish people could see it. There is healing with Him that can be found no where else. My eyes fill with tears as I type this. He is not what religion says He Is. He is not a cross on a wall or a bad experience a person had in a Church. He is the Savior of the world and of each individual. He is kind and unique and eternal.

Please close your eyes and pray and open them again. Look and see Him as the scripture reveals Him. There is hope is him that can't be found anywhere else.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Deaf And Dumb Spirits - Part 2

Some more thoughts about the passage we looked at yesterday.

This verse is so loaded...

"In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;" - 2 Timothy 2:25 KJV

'Oppose Themselves' is one Greek word in the middle voice (so the person is doing the action to themselves). The word is antidiatithemi (Strong's G475).

anti = against or instead of
diatithemi = arranging or disposing of one's own affairs.

People need hope. They don't dare to arrange their own affairs if they lack hope. They stop believing that something wonderful can happen.

A meek instructor creates an opening where God might 'give the gift of repentance'. In other words they get a glimpse of Him while they are still stiff-necked and that glimpse might result in a turned to God by acknowledging the truth.

Jesus is a meek instructor.

"And Jesus asked his father, 'How long has this been happening to him?' And he said, 'From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.' And Jesus said to him, ''If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!' " - Mark 9:21-24 ESV

Jesus' faith confession set the stage for the healing.

The father was so overwhelmed by the circumstance that he was at his wits end. He did the right thing. He went and got Jesus.

I also saw this...

The father said, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute." - Mark 9:17b ESV

But Jesus said, "You mute and deaf spirit..." - Mark 9:25b ESV

The father thought his child could not speak but Jesus saw that he could not hear or speak. Communication was not getting in or out but Jesus words pierced the darkness of the father's life and of the son's life.

When a meek man or woman speaks the words are powerful. They are not born of self-interest for personal gain. God teaches the meek person and gives them something to say. The meek person discerns.

Don't we see people around us who have great potential but they get in their own way. They oppose themselves.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ," - 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV

Meek warfare casts down knowledge that contradicts faith.

God, Make us stubborn about Your ability to heal and redeem. Teach us. Fill us with hope and give us words of hope. Open our ears to hear grace so that we will have a faith confession.

All redemption is possible for them that believe. Everything that has been sold has been bought back by the blood of Jesus. Every place where we put our foot is ours by faith. Meekness declares the eternal victory. Meekness glorifies God.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Deaf And Dumb Spirits - Part 1

"And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, 'You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.' " - Mark 9:25 ESV

To the modern mind in a technological society passages like this are glossed over. The idea of a 'dumb spirit' is thought to be primitive. Psychology (or Pseudo-psychology) has become the everyday person's hobby. People diagnose instead of discern.

On vacation we walked into a casino to get cash out of a cash machine and you could sense the spirit in there. Dry. Stale. Maniac. Self-deception and escapism hung in the air like a cloud. Unclean. Deaf. Dumb. Lambs shambling in to be fleeced with a dull blade.

I find this passage interesting because Jesus saw the confusion and discerned something. Here is the context of the passage.

"And someone from the crowd answered him, 'Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.' And he answered them, 'O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.' And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, 'How long has this been happening to him?' And he said, 'From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.' And Jesus said to him, ''If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!' And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, 'You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.' " - Mark 9:17-25 ESV

I read a wonderful post recently by a mother with a special needs child. She was adamant about challenging her child with creative communication. She hasn't sat idly by let her child be withdrawn. She lovingly rebukes the barriers that block communication. If her child can't 'hear' a concept she creatively communicates in a dozen other ways to bring the idea patiently across. That child is blossoming under her patient gracious care.

Jesus stepped into the confusion with faith and gracious truth.

And Jesus said to him, ''If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes.'

Yes! That is the voice of reason. That is what a hopeless and faithless person needs to hear but they may be deaf and dumb from atmosphere they have lived in all their lives. People may need gentle creative repetition for the truth to cut through the gloom. They may need time for the sun to burn off the stale mist that has covered their lives.

A good Bible college is a place where that can happen. A living church that meets more than once a week on Sundays. A wholesome group that does things together and talks about God over coffee.

That father said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!'. He was tired and confused. He tried everything he could think of but was barely able to keep his child alive. It's that us sometimes?

Don't settle for a stale psychology! There are forces that seek to block redemptive communication. The mob needs confusion to exist. A meek spiritual person who has been with Jesus can discern and speak and walls come down. They are riding a wave of objective power. The are sent and have the authority of the One who sends them infused in words that reflect Biblical truth.

So, confusion may be the mindset of the day but let us be ones that rest in truth and have our feet planted on the rock. As ministers of reconciliation we can reach out our hand and other can join us in the oasis of calm. It is a big rock. No one can say there is no room there.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." - John 3:16-17 KJV

Yes, God. Make us intelligent discerners. Give us redemptive meditations today. Make us individuals that reflect your Son. You are the King. Give us words that affect the atmosphere of any room we enter. Disarm confusion. We bring You into our largest problems and You rebuke the spirits that block hearing and speaking. You are the light in our darkness. You are the hope of our generation. Praise You Lord. Thank you Jesus.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Finding Our Purpose

"When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.' " - John 20:20-21 ESV

I marvel at this 'sending'. Just think of how the Father sent the Son in the incarnation. Jesus was a sent one when He stayed in the temple even though His family had gone home. He was a sent One when He insisted that John baptize Him in the river. He was sent to the disciples that would later become Apostles. He was sent to the cross.

Why are you here on Earth? The secret is revealed in the sending. You have been sent.

The disciples were glad when they saw Jesus weren't they? They saw a wounded resurrected man that was more alive than anyone they had known and they were glad.

Our call is the only way we can make sense out of our life.

"So Joseph said to his brothers, 'Come near to me, please.' And they came near. And he said, 'I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.' " - Genesis 45:4-5 ESV

"But Joseph said to them, 'Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.' " - Genesis 50:19-20 ESV

It might look like you were 'sold' into your situation but you will find meaning when you find the 'sending' in it.

Every soul on the planet starts out with unanswered questions about their existence. The 'sending' is the only place they will find the answers they seek. The 'seeker' looks for something out there in front on them. The sent one feels the support of One who has sent them. God is both behind and in front of the sent one. He Is on the right and on the left.

Thank you God for filling the void in our life. In you we find purpose. We love and hop over the wall to help those who are hurting. We think this way because of the One who sent us. Thank You Jesus.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Absence And Presence

We are home on the last day of our vacation preparing to go back to work and emptying suitcases.

My thought was on how Jesus' absence creates opportunities for people and His presence brings in accountability.

"Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country..." - Matthew 21:33 KJV

"And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made [them] other five talents. And likewise he that [had received] two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money." - Matthew 25:15-18 KJV

When the householder is away there is a window of opportunity and people show their true colors. Time is a commodity. It can either be wasted or invested.

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." - Psalm 16:11 ESV

"...And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:20b ESV

Jesus is with us even when He is not physically present. He is at least for those that know Him. One day He will return and accountability will come with Him.

Today I sense the presence of God in my life. I am as grateful for that as I am to have eyes that see and ears that hear. Sensing Him brings accountability to holiness. Knowing grace I don't strive because of that accountability I rest in it. God is here and everything is alright in my Father's house.


Friday, July 15, 2016

The Coal And The Cross

This morning I've been thinking about exclusive place like restaurants in airports or stadiums where you need a ticket to be in the area where the place is in order to go there. They don't stop you at the door because you have been prescreened.

In Isaiah chapter 6 Isaiah sat God enthroned in the temple but the angel cried, 'Holy, Holy, Holy' and used a name for God that revealed His command of angelic armies. Isaiah was filled with dread as smoke filled the temple. Isaiah verbally declared his own introspective disqualification and an angel took a coal from the altar and put it to Isaiah's lip.

Instead of burning him it healed him of his introspection. Suddenly he was inside instead of outside. He was privy to God speaking and overheard what He was saying.

The cross was painful but like that coal it isn't painful for us. It takes us from outside to inside. Now we can eat at God's table because we have been prescreened.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Planting Our Vineyard

"The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent." - Genesis 9:18-21 ESV

Let me first say that I don't drink wine or alcoholic beverages. I have personal convictions about it based on biblical truth. I also don't want to be a stumbling block to anyone who has or has had a problem in that area.

"And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.' And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." - Matthew 26:27-30 ESV

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit," - Ephesians 5:18 ESV

Wine is symbol for joy in the Hebrew scriptures. I will drink wine with my Savior one day. My body will have been changed by then. I won't have the weaknesses I have now. In a way I consider myself a soldier. I won't do certain things 'on duty' and I will be on duty for the rest of my time on Earth. All things are lawful but not all things are profitable. Being filled with the Spirit is profitable in this age we live in.

It is interesting to think of Noah as a wine person. People who know a lot about wine are often very particular. They have words for every aspect of the wine's flavor. The soil in Spain is different from the soil in Italy or in France and wine people know all about it. They know which wine to drink with different foods. In a way they are experts at cultivating a natural kind of joy.

Noah came through the ultimate PTSD inducing experience. He lived through the end of his world. He had worked and worked and worked for so long and now he was in a new world. The waters had subsided and he saw the soil and regrowth of a clean and purified Earth and thought, 'This soil is perfect for grapes!'

If anyone deserved a little joy it was Noah. That guy had spent his life pounding out the will of God. He had spent several of our lifetimes.

But there was a problem. More than one in fact. There were only a few people on the planet and the Earth had changed after the flood. Air pressure had changed. The intensity of the sun had changed. Scientists even believe from studying pre-flood vegetation that all the water on the planet had been changed in subtle ways. The absorption of minerals in water and vegetation had been altered. Dinosaurs lived before the flood because they could live in that environment. The Earth could support meaty creatures that large because the vegetation had the nutrition to support them.

Noah just saw great soil and a chance to relax tending a huge vineyard. I imagine it was a large one. Noah wasn't exactly a small scale person, was he? The thing is... the joy he imagined was no longer practical in this new world.

"He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, 'Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.' He also said, 'Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.' After the flood Noah lived 350 years. All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died." - Genesis 9:21-29 ESV

Noah was 600 years old when this happened. Noah changed his focus and he lived another 350 years watching his children go in different directions.

I see it as a warning. Is God's grace enough or am I planning to plant and expand my vineyard and cultivate a life of natural joy? You might say, 'Does it have to be one or the other? Can't I have both?' and all I can say is read the Bible and decide. Far be it for me to tell you how to live your life.

Joshua said...

"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." - Joshua 24:15 ESV

He lived a victorious life.

In this age we are not servants we are sons and daughters who choose how to live our life.

I'm not going to look out and say, 'Wow. I could grow some great grapes here.' instead I want to look out and see souls and sow the seed of the Gospel. Being filled with the Spirit is my ultimate satisfaction. Jesus isn't drinking. He hasn't had a drop since the last supper.

"I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." - Matthew 26:29 ESV

On that day I will break my fast also. I haven't made a pledge like that but I choose day to day to live in unity with my Savior. We will raise our glasses together in victory.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I Sat Where They Sat

"And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling. And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days. And at the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me: 'Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.' " - Ezekiel 3:15-17 ESV

Seven often speaks of completion in the scriptures. It is full cycle of days. It was the same time that took to create the world which is amazing to think about. I know people see creation as really being an extended time frame in that order.

"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." - 2 Peter 3:8 ESV

Then the evolutionist rationalizes further and stretches the thousand into millions.

The bottom line to me is that the language in Genesis is literal. The bible uses figurative language elsewhere but if we translate literal language literally the scripture often turns from a two dimensional understanding into a three dimensional one.

'Sitting seven days' speaks of full identification because the writer has seen the process of life there in Chebar. He is no tourist. He has seen people work and rest. He has seen them for a week and let's face it... most weeks look like every other week for most people.

Notice God calls Ezekiel 'Son of Man' in these passages. Jesus took that title also.

"But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins - he then said to the paralytic - 'Rise, pick up your bed and go home.' And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men." - Matthew 9:6-8 ESV

Ezekiel sat by a river 7 days and God made him into watchman. Jesus stayed with us as a person for 30 years. Ezekiel sat for a full cycle with a people group and God gave him a commission to warn them. Jesus was with us for a lifetime and this singular fully divine man had the authority to forgive us. Part of His forgiveness was His full identification.

I think we are limited in our ability to forgive if we have not fully identified with a person. In our wrong perceptions we forgive imaginary crimes. Until we have walked in a person's shoes how can we possibly know how they live?

We spoke to a man on outreach this weekend. He had a large half empty bottle of vodka in his front pocket. At first glance you might think that the booze was his problem but we have spoken to him before and this week he really opened up to us. He told us his wife and daughter were driving in from Virginia that Saturday night. She wanted the 'to be family again'. We said, 'That is amazing. Why don't we pray and pour the rest of that bottle out in the gutter right here. This is a wonderful chance at restoration.' But he took a few steps back and tapped the bottle saying, 'I won't lie. I'm gonna drink the rest of this. Two of my friends died this week and I'm going to a wake this afternoon.' we said, 'One of our friends died also.'

We prayed with Him and the conversation ending with him wandering away and getting involved with a young strung out girl on the street who knew him and asked him for 2 dollars to buy a hair net for a job. He wasn't ready to give that bottle up yet. He wasn't ready to be a family again. Pouring that bottle out and driving back with them was to much for him to think about. My heart breaks for him and his wife and daughter. He isn't some drunk stumbling down the street to me anymore. He has a story and I learned just a bit of it when I sat with him for a few minutes one sunny day on Eastern Avenue in Baltimore.

Jesus came to forgive sins. The Son of Man has that power. We have been commissioned also. It is a commission that brings healing for those that will receive the gift. God sent His Son to identify and pay for sin. He send us to tell people that they are forgiven. We won't know the depths of that forgiveness unless we identify also.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Wrath Of God Is Revealed

I learned something special this morning. It is one of those 'right in front of your face' kind of things that when you see it you realize it was there all along but somehow in my familiarity I was blind to it.

I warn you beforehand. It isn't a pleasant truth but it is an important one.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." - Romans 1:18 ESV

This wrath is being revealed right now. It will be revealed later in the time of Jacob's wrath. That will be dramatic and fiery but it is being revealed now.

"But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed." - Romans 2:5 ESV

There is a time in the future when God's wrath will be revealed but right now in the age of grace we see the wrath of God revealed. It is the banishment of man and the resulting chaos that comes from banishment. It isn't God's anger expressed in a storm or tragedy. No. Because of the cross God has forgiven sin and put it far away from Him.

The wrath we see is the banishment of Adam leaving the Garden. It is King David banishing his son Absalom from his presence. Absalom turned from a man who wanted justice into a man willing to use others to get back at his father in that banishment.

"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools," - Romans 1:19-22 ESV

Perhaps we think that the trouble we see in the world makes God angry. Actually it is the opposite. The trouble we see is evidence that God was angry enough in His holiness to send Adam and Eve out of the garden and into a cold harsh world.

God is still angry at evil. All evil systems will fall. God is not angry at people anymore. Jesus fixed that problem. Jesus mended that fence. God wants to bring every wandering soul home again because His Son has made away for that to happen.

This racial hatred we see welling up in the world is evidence of the wrath of God. Delight in violence and vengeance all point to the fact that people have been orphaned.

God's anger is a holy anger. He had every right to cast Adam out. Anything less would have been sentimentality and compromise. But His mercy rejoiced against judgement and God made a way for there to be reconciliation.

"For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him." - 1 Thessalonians 5:5-10 ESV

God wants every individual to return to His house and once reconciled they will never be banished again.

This is why I believe that the Gospel is the solution for the ills of this world.

The natural man will always have hate simmering under the surface. You can't educate it out of him or her. If you push it down here it will pop up somewhere else. Adam transgressed and was changed by that transgression into someone who can never forgive God for his banishment. He is a spoiled child who hates his loving parents and it can't be cured.

The Gospel is the only message that results in a new nature if we embrace it. God makes us into grateful children who say things like 'if He slays me I will trust Him' because the new birth has a rainbow promise attached to it. No wrath. No banishment. No disconnect.

We have a message like no other. The cross is the only cure for bitterness. It won't be received everywhere but in the places it is received an oasis will form.

"...then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;" - Isaiah 35:6 ESV


Monday, July 11, 2016

The Law Of Christ

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2 ESV

'Fulfill the law of Christ' is very interesting when you look at it in the Greek. It could easily be translated, 'function in the principle of the anointed One.' Bearing burdens is what the anointed One came to do. He was anointed for that purpose. Jesus healed because He bore the burden of Love and the virtue of who He was poured out of Him to heal.

"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load." - Galatians 6:1-5 ESV

Jesus lived in His calling. In the anointing He was yoked to the Father and boar the burden of His own life and His cup overflowed to bear the burdens of others to bring them to a place where they could choose to function in their calling.

The woman at the well is a great example of this principle.

"So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give me a drink.' (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) ... They went out of the town and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, 'Rabbi, eat.' But he said to them, 'I have food to eat that you do not know about.' So the disciples said to one another, 'Has anyone brought him something to eat?' Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.' " - John 4:5-8, 30-38 ESV

The disciples went into town but Jesus was functioning in the principle of the anointing. He was a sent one. He had food and drink that they had no clue existed.

Let's face it our own life is to heavy for us to carry alone. People hire therapists to carry the burden. They drink and eat in excess. They seek distractions because the burden of one life is so heavy.

God would have us 'function in the principle of the anointed One.' As sent ones we have someone who bears our heavy load for us.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

Help us Lord. God we need rest for our souls. Direct us today as sent ones. We have been bought with a precious price. We do not belong to ourselves. Teach us to function in the principle of the anointed One. As we look at Him we surrender to the transformation into His image. Make us like Jesus in our experience. We are already like Him in our position. We want to walk in our circles like He did in His 2,000 years ago. In the anointing He walks with us today. Thank You God.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pearls Before Swine

I'm going on outreach today but I had a quick thought I've been meditating on as I think and pray about talking to people today.

Have you ever been frustrated or perplexed about something and spoken to someone only to find yourself more frustrated and perplexed afterwards? I have. Perhaps the person you spoke to wanted to help but it was just the wrong time to talk or the person had a frame of reference that was not helpful.

If someone comes to me and they need to talk I want to be ready.

"Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." - Matthew 7:6-8 ESV

I guess what I am saying is that I don't want to be a swine when someone is sharing things that matter to them. I need to go to God first and cast my care on Him and get his mind on something... anything He wants to give me. Whatever crumbs He wants to give are more than good enough. If I knock and have a thought from Heaven to chew on then I can be in the flow for all the things He has ever given me to rise to the surface of my mind. Then when I run into someone who is at a crossroads the door into eternal perspective will already be clearly in sight by faith.

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' " - John 14:6 ESV

Yes. The maker of all things also has a resolution for all perplexities. Will we be dogs or grace and mercy people who carry seed that will produce an eternal harvest?


Friday, July 8, 2016

Knowing A Person

Knowing someone's value system is a key part of knowing them. Their value system is just below the surface of their actions. It is very possible to see someone everyday and joke with them but not know them very well. Then they say something that gives a glimpse of what is under the surface and the person is seen.

I think it is shocking that you can know someone for just a short times and become fast friends but with other people you spend years and years with them but never really know them.

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." - Hebrews 11:6 ESV

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end." - Hebrews 3:12-14 ESV

This morning I was musing about the difference between faith and 'hyper-spirituality'. A hyper-spiritual person reads meaning into every action and relationship. There are demons lurking in the shadows. God is doing this and He is not doing that.

The spiritual people I have known share a couple of qualities. Those qualities are expressed in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6. They recognize God's presence in situations and have knowledge and/or awareness of His value system. Spiritual people are friends of God. They may be to humble to admit it... but they are. They 'think with God' on some level.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

A very simple minded person can be friends with a genius. The simple minded person can't know what a genius will do to solve a complex problem because the two don't think on the same level but the simple man can know his friend's character and value system and they can have oneness on a primal level.

I don't know what God is going to do today. His level of thinking is beyond me. I feel privileged to get glimpses. He tells me it pleases Him if I trust Him. He reveals that His value system is grace based. His merit system is based on His Son's perfect performance and not on my flawed performance.

"For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." - 1 Corinthians 1:17 ESV

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." - Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Let's have a day (and weekend) where our words fall into two categories. Let's tell of the good news that God has a grace value system and let's build each other up in grace.

God Is here right now. He Is with you in Your room. That awareness is primary.

Knowing that we can ponder what He is like and then act on it and He will be very pleased that we are trusting Him. He is already pleased with us because of His Son but we can enter into that pleasure in our experience when we trust Him knowing something about what He values and cares about.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fictional Families

I awoke with a clear idea in my mind. In this time we live in people are more involved with fictional relationships than they are with real connections. Television friendships have stolen the intimacy of real friendships. Doctors in fictional hospitals model dysfunction weekly. People know and care about who a singer is dating and was seen with on the 4th of July in an unhealthy way and it robs them.

Here is an interesting passage. I will give the context directly afterwards.

"But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler." - 1 Peter 4:15 ESV

That word 'meddler' is translated 'busybody' in the King James. The Greek word is allotriepiskopos (Strong's G244) and it is a combination of two concepts, stranger and overseer. It is an interesting list isn't it? The first steals life. The second steals property. The third corrupts order and the fourth exercises power over strange people.

Here is the context.

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" - 1 Peter 4:12-17 ESV

The fiery trial isn't the normal day to day one. It is the hurricane that strikes with fury. It is the flood that forces evacuation. It that day the fictions will fail us but the true connections have a chance of holding fast.

"Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:13-21 ESV

There is a divine attachment and detachment that we are made for as people. Do we care about real things and real people? Perhaps that can make us vulnerable. Real people can hurt us. The world is a crowded place filled with isolated people. Smart phones create social zombies with fast thumbs and slow tongues.

Real attachments create real anxieties also and God would be our buffer so that we don't worship people or relationships.

"But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband." - 1 Corinthians 7:28-34 ESV

God's grace is the balance.

God knows that wrong focus creates anxiety. Grace keeps us from being meddlers. We do not need to have control over strangers. It connects us but in a healthy way where God is in the middle as a buffer.

How strange it would sound if a public figure said in a public interview, 'Let's stop caring about who your favorite movie star is dating and start initiating Godly friendships with one another. That is none of your business. Let's evangelize people and get our heads out of our phones.' It would be scandalous.

God give us a new friend this week... not someone we meddle with... not some wrong connection that will cause anxiety... make us like salmon that swim against the current of our world... here and present be not 'of the world' in it's whims and obsessions... make us grace and mercy people who love and are involved in a healthy Godly way in what is real. We worship you and that is real worship. You are our anchor into what is lasting and actual. You are our God. Thank You Lord. We love you. You are the sun that lights our world. Illuminate our path today. We believe You will. Thank You God.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Spiritual Gravity

This morning My thoughts drift to the gravity of Heaven. Jesus was drawn into Heaven. His nature had a buoyancy.

"He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.' And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight." - Acts 1:7-9 ESV

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]." 2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP

This new creation has a buoyant nature. It is a new identity with new characteristics.

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." - Romans 8:29 ESV

"And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." - Colossians 1:18 ESV

The old nature had a different pull.

"O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit." - Psalm 30:3 KJV

Even though we are new we can still live in the old. The new must be lived out by faith. The new finds it's identity in the one who came first. Grace is for the new. The old has no use for it really.

I feel the draw this morning. I don't want to die. I want to live and be among the living. What a privilege it is to be a Heavenly citizen!

God keeps us alive in spite of ourselves doesn't he? There will be a day when the time is just right and the frail sting that holds us to the Earth will be severed. Angels will guide us, help us, then the cloud will receive us just like it received Him. We will be drawn to the One who loves us... the One who wants us... the One who is complete in Himself but desires our companionship.

Thank You God. Help us through our days on Earth. Some days the cords that hold us feel like anchors. Be our buoyancy today. Thank You for loving us and all those who have gone before us. We long for You and know by faith You are always with us.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

When Forgiveness Is In The Past Tense

Kindness. Isn't it beautiful when people are kind to one another in difficult situations?

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV

I like that it says, 'Let no... Let all... Be kind... '

Animals can get mean when they are in pain. Why? They are protecting something.

I think as believers we talk about forgiveness a lot. I remember back when my concept of evangelical Christianity centered around televangelists shown on late night channels. It was before I was a believer. I thought all this talk of forgiveness was so overemphasized.

'These people must be very guilty if they talk about this so much.'

I don't think I was wrong either. Religion makes people feel guilty. It misses something so important in it's standards and programs.

" God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:32b ESV

Forgave is in the past tense.

Kindness is simple when forgiveness is in the past tense. What if the annoying thing is instantly past tense? What if judgement about the pain we feel is in the past tense and covered in forgiveness?

When judgement is out of the way we can live grateful to God and in fullness instead of mean and protective.

I'm not always kind. I often forget how much pain I have caused God that He has forgotten because of His Son. In my self orientation convenience becomes king and I feel entitled to lash out. But today I decide to let kindness flow through me. I decide to let God's kindness fill me until there is no room for bitterness. I decide to remember the value of people.

People need kindness. Oh, Yes they do. They need it more than they need correction. Life is going to beat people down. Our help is not needed in that area. People need the ministry of the Spirit of God. The hungry get fed when Christ is revealed. The sick get healed. The blind see. The deaf hear.

Fill us God. Open our eyes. Let judgement be in the past tense for us. We want people to see Your kindness through us. Only you can make that happen. We pray you would do that today. Surprise us today with what You can do. Give us words that feed the hungry. We ask this in the precious name of Your Son who has made forgiveness possible for us. Thank You God.


Friday, July 1, 2016

The Noise Of The Archers

"They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates." - Judges 5:11 KJV

This passage is from Debra's song... She was a judge in Israel... A person raised up during the time when an oppressor had Israel under it's thumb... this is her victory song.

... the noise of the archers... it could also be translated the voice of the divider... the sound of an arrow as it passed you was a terrifying sound... a common tactic of bandits was to fire arrows just past a group of people so that they would drop what they were carrying and run for shelter then the bandits would take what ever they could with little or no loss of life.

In an age without telephones the places of drawing water were places were you met your neighbors and shared information as you got your provision for the day.

Have we been delivered from the 'noise of the archers' or have we been forced away from our places of drawing water?

Those who have been delivered from fear have something to say about God's righteous acts. The have liberty and access.