Tag Archives: Judges

Judges 20; Acts 24; Jeremiah 34; Luke 3

When all the people were being baptized by John, Jesus also was baptized. While Jesus was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit came down on him in the form of a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “You are my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with you.” Luke 3:21-22 (NCV)

There were so many topics bouncing around my head while I was reading today’s passages. I was having a hard time even focusing, because of the depth of the subjects (Israel against the Benjamites, prophecies of Judah falling into the hands of Babylon, Paul in Jail…) and, because my kids wouldn’t settle down long enough for me to read or write a complete sentence.

And, then I read Luke 3:22, “You are my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with You.”

These words coming directly from the mouth of God Himself; a Father’s love poured out over His Son. Pure acceptance, not for anything He did, but simply for who He was, is, and is to come.

Jesus was still a ‘nobody’ to the world. He hadn’t turned water into wine. He hadn’t healed anyone, hadn’t cast out demons, hadn’t raised anyone from the dead. He hadn’t walked on water or calmed storms. He hadn’t challenged the sensibilities of the priest or changed the hearts of sinners. He hadn’t died, hadn’t been buried, hadn’t risen from the dead.

I think about when I watch my own daughters. I consider who they are. I study the beauty that they carry, both inside and out. I reflect on the short time that I have had to get to know them, their personalities, their quirks, their identities. I ponder in my heart their possibilities and what the future may hold for them.

They are my daughters, whom I love. And, I am well pleased with them. They are ‘nobodies’ to the world; they have ‘done’ nothing. And, yet, I am overwhelmed at the immensity of how much love I have for them, the pleasure they bring to my heart and soul.

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the amount of love I have for my girls, is only a tiny fraction of the amount of love that God has for them…and, the amount of love that God has for me.

He didn’t just say those words to Jesus. He said them to me, to my daughters, to everyone…ALL of His children. It doesn’t matter if I am ‘known’ or ‘unknown’, if I have done ‘something’ or done nothing at all but live life. It doesn’t matter if have a pure heart and clean hands or if I am walking in sin.

It doesn’t matter because He loves me with an everlasting love. He sees me for the diamond that I am, even if I am covered in muck. He sees my potential. He sees my future and He knows the plan is good.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your acceptance and Your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, I beg you to let the man of God come to us again. Let him teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born to us.” Judges 13:8 (NCV)

I think that this is the prayer of every believing parent. I know it is my prayer, daily and in every moment, especially the difficult ones.

I have not been given an instruction manual on how to raise my children, to raise them to be well-adjusted and valuable to society, to raise them to be God-fearing adults, not one of us has. Though, there are thousands of self-help style books to either help in the process of child-rearing or help me feel guilty for not being able to do everything or be everything.  And, there are a plethora of advice givers– some who offer sound advice and some who offer nothing more than old wives tales that hold little usefulness.

When it comes to choosing the best guide for parenting, the Bible surely is the right choice to raise children in the right way, the way befitting of these (sons and) daughters of the King, the true Royal Heirs.

The Angel of the Lord gave specific directions to Manoah and his wife in how to bring up Samson for the calling that God had placed on his life even before his conception.

“Be careful not to drink wine or beer or eat anything that is unclean, because you will become pregnant and have a son. You must never cut his hair, because he will be a Nazirite, given to God from birth. He will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.” Judges 13:4-5 (NCV)

The Bible gives clear instructions to me; that I should keep God’s Words always on my heart and teach them to my children diligently, all day, each day, in every situation, no matter where we are or what we are doing (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). This means that every day as I move through life with my daughters, I must look for the moments during our day that are opportunities to share Jesus’ love, His grace, His mercy, His sacrifice…and to share His most important commands.

Jesus answered, “The most important command is this: ‘Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second command is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commands more important than these.” Mark 12:29-31 (NCV)

As a mother, I often only have the hope of fruit to come. Recently, though I have seen glimpses into the rewards of that fruit:

Daughter: “What happened? You hurt self?” (with great compassion etched in her face)

Mother: “Yes, Baby, Mommy’s finger has a booboo. I cut myself.”

Daughter: “I pray you?”

Mother: “Yes, please. That would be very kind.”

My toddler leans over my hand, folds her hands over my finger, closes her eyes, and says in a small voice, “Jesus loves me. Amen.” Then, expectantly, asks if I feel better.

Now, that is what it is ALL about.

Yesappa, come teach me what I should do for these children born to me. Help me love them as You love them; and help me be patient with them as You are patient with me. Help me give grace and mercy as You give to me. Help me train my children in the way they should go, so as they grow they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Help me love my kids on purpose. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Judges 6; Acts 10; Jeremiah 19; Mark 5

But Peter said, “No, Lord! I have never eaten food that is unholy or unclean.”

But the voice said to him again, “God has made these things clean, so don’t call them unholy!” Acts 10:14-15 (NCV)

He said, “You people understand that it is against our law for Jewish people to associate with or visit anyone who is not Jewish. But God has shown me that I should not call any person ‘unholy’ or ‘unclean.’ Acts 10:28 (NCV)

Peter began to speak: “I really understand now that to God every person is the same. In every country God accepts anyone who worships him and does what is right. You know the message that God has sent to the people of Israel is the Good News that peace has come through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lord of all people! Acts 10:34-36 (NCV)

Interestingly enough, my husband and I were recently discussing whether or not God redeems what is considered ‘unholy’ by man.

Our oldest daughter was given kolusu, sterling silver anklets with little bells on them, by her uncle according to Indian custom. Though she didn’t wear them much in the US, she has been wearing them non-stop since we arrived back in India, which is great because I can locate her much easier when she is playing. I mentioned today that I would like to also get a pair for our younger daughter, to help stimulate her desire for walking, and maybe even a simpler pair for myself (I always loved the idea of wearing anklets).

My husband continued the conversation by saying that these anklets are not only an Indian custom, but also a Hindu tradition, allowing one of the gods to enjoy the sounds of the bells and to also keep the devils away. I countered by expressing my belief that God is the creator of bells and what the enemy may try to steal for his purposes is redeemed again by God. Our exchange ended with a “to be continued.”

I was impressed today by Peter’s understanding of the redemption in Christ in regards to people, concerning the laws of Moses. It is so easy for me to judge someone based on external appearances, customs, behaviors or choices that differ from my own. It is easy for me to deem something ‘unclean’ or ‘unholy’ because my opinion differs; and it is easy for me to throw random, out of context Bible verses at the ‘problems’ to try and make them go away or change. But my judgments of things is not God’s judgment of things; and it is not even my role to make judgment in the first place (James 4:11-12; Romans 2:1-4).

Jesus exemplified this revolution by consistently associating with those that the people and the law considered ‘unholy’ and ‘unclean’-tax collectors, homosexuals, lepers, prostitutes…the demon possessed, diseased individuals like the woman with the issue of blood, and those who had died-all those walking in sin, no matter how big or how small the sin.

He wasn’t concerned with their current state of uncleanness. He knew that their personal experiences of His Agape love would change their hearts forever. He knew that He was planting seeds in their hearts for the future. He knew they were simply diamonds in the rough. He knew that they were children of God who had not yet realized their true identity, and therefore had not yet been ‘cleansed’.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross changed everything. He brought redemption and restoration of hearts into countless lives. His resurrection, His gift of grace fulfilled the law and made holy what was once unholy through belief in Him. What an amazing inheritance, what an incredible birthright for God’s sons and daughters, those who know Him personally, and those whose eyes have yet to be opened.

Yesappa, Open the eyes of my heart and allow Your love to enter in a deeper way, Your agape love for Your people, the redeemed and those who have yet to give themselves to You. Help me walk in love and not judgment. Give me Your compassion for Your children and help me bring Your Light into their lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Judges 19, 20, 21; Luke 16

“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  Judges 21:25  Forgive me if I begin to sound like a femi-nazi, but this story in Judges illustrates the depravity and murderous spirit of Satan that make victims of women.  First the Levite (umm, from the tribe of priests, right?) gives his concubine to the crowd who wanted to sodomize him.  Now he had to know what her fate would be, rape and unmentionable acts that would lead to her death.  The Levite then uses this incident to arouse the nation of Israel to go to war against the Benjamites.  Though God eventually gives the victory to Israel, they come up with a plan to give the defeated tribe – you guessed it, women.  Imagine your daughter or granddaughter having fun dancing at a festival and some strange man forces her to leave with him to become his wife, and you cannot get the authorities to do anything about it. That is what happened in this story. Since they would not give their  own daughters for brides, Israel gave the Benjamites permission to abduct and force marriage on young virgins from another tribe during a festival where young women could be found (sounds something like the sex slave trade, to me).

Okay, I’ll be fair and say that women perpetrate many injustices, too.  It’s just that the weaker sex, or the disabled (as is illustrated in the story of Lazarus in Luke), are pawns in the games played by the powerful or wealthy, and seemingly without a prick to the conscious.  What is happening to humanity when we can turn our heads from injustice?  Or how is it that we will give a stamp of approval to brutality with only the barest of facts?  Why is it that we think God is on our side when our pain becomes unbearable, or our fears humble us, or our self-righteous anger emboldens us?

Without God we may, in fact, be like the impulsive, charge up the hill, throw the tramp to the wolves, kind of people who have not taken the time to seek the Lord’s will in matters of such magnitude.  A modern day example is the Trayvon/Zimmerman case.  “Hang ’em high and ask questions later.”  Isn’t that the American way?  In the end we may only be doing what is right in our own eyes.

By Janet

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Judges 4, Jeremiah 17, Mark 3, Acts 8

“Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” Judges 4:14b

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14

Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. Mark 3:35

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Acts 8:4

The persecution of the church scattered believers far and wide. Though they were under great pressure they kept talking about Jesus.

Often the storms of life send us spinning off our usual trajectory and into a group of people who do not know us or our beliefs. These are the days God goes ahead of us and prepares the way to meet potential new brothers and sisters in Christ. He gives us victory, not necessarily in our infirmities, but in the power and grace of our witness. Our healing could be in our bodies. It is definitely well with our souls.

You O Lord are engraved with a diamond tipped pen on the tablet of my heart. May everyone see your beauty carved into my life for the praise and glory of your Name.  Amen.

yicareggie

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