Tag Archives: Numbers

Numbers 26-29; Luke 2

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go up to this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people.’ ” Numbers 27:12-13.

Moses knew that his time on earth was growing short as he looked over into the Promised Land that he would never enter. What did he feel? Sorrow? Remorse? Gratitude? Peace? I am not sure, but I imagine that he considered those long years of toil and duress, deliverance and wandering. God was making and molding his people all that time and all the while calling Moses into an intimacy with Him that terrified others. What did Moses treasure his last hours on earth? I think it was his friendship with God, his family and friends and his love for a stubborn people.

Luke gave us a peek into Mary’s head and heart:

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:19…51

The wonder of God made man, her son Jesus, must have filled her right up to her last days and carried her through the darkest of times. Jesus taught about treasures:

” Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

What I ponder, what I treasure defines me. It fills me, be it positive or negative. Painful times may come, as they did for Moses and Mary, but that which they treasured is what I remember them for.

Lord, capture my heart and attention so that you are my treasure. Cause me to “ponder” and wonder at who you are and how you move. Keep my affections from wandering off to places where they don’t belong. May I be filled with your joy and gratitude for what is real, what is true, You.

Klueh

 

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Numbers 19-21; Colossians 4

1In the first month all the people of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin. They stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2There was no water for the people. So they came together against Moses and Aaron. 3They argued with Moses. They said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did. 4Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? Are we and our animals to die here? 5Why did you bring us from Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain, figs or pomegranates. And there’s no water to drink!”

6So Moses and Aaron left the people. Then they went to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. They bowed facedown. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7The Lord said to Moses, 8“You and your brother Aaron should gather the people. Also take your walking stick. Speak to that rock in front of them. Then water will flow from it. Give that water to the people and their animals.”

9So Moses took the stick from in front of the Lord. He did as the Lord had said. 10He and Aaron gathered the people in front of the rock. Then Moses said, “Now listen to me, you complainers! Do you want us to bring water out of this rock?” 11Then Moses lifted his hand and hit the rock twice with his stick. Water began pouring out. And the people and their animals drank it.

12But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “You did not believe me. You did not honor me as holy before the people. So you will not lead them into the land I will give them.”

13These are the waters of Meribah. Here the Israelites argued with the Lord. And the Lord showed them he was holy. Numbers 20:1-13

As I read, once again hearing the dissatisfaction of the Israelites, I hear my own kids voices complaining, never happy with how I am providing for them – I’m not giving them juice…I’m not giving it to them fast enough…I didn’t give them the ‘right’ cup…I’m a ‘mean’ mommy…

Just writing those statements, I can feel my blood beginning to boil. Often in these situations, especially when all three are pitted against me (yes, even my sweet little 15 month old has begun the temper tantrums), I quickly lose patience. It doesn’t matter how good of a day I’ve been having up to that point, it doesn’t matter how much self-control I’ve exerted or that I haven’t yelled so far that day. My frustration gets the better of me, and I lose it.

It was the same for Moses. He lost it; sick and tired of the Israelites discontent, overwhelmed by their bad attitudes and ungratefulness. And in that moment, his anger got the better of him and he disobeyed God.

Hitting the rock twice instead of speaking to it doesn’t seem like a big deal, especially since God had instructed him to do that in the past. But, this time God told him to speak to the rock, to command the water to flow. In his anger he lashed out, and failed to honor God with his actions, with his obedience.

Too many times I do this. I forget the things that God has instructed me to do…love, serve, teach…and I get caught up in my anger at little people defying me. I fall short. I disobey. I sin. And, I fail to honor God.

Fortunately, these interactions still serve as teachable moments. Facing my own bad choices gives me the chance to teach my kids about repentance, forgiveness, and the redemptive power of Jesus.

No matter what I do when my kids are on a complaining spree, whether I respond in a good way or mess up and respond in anger, God will always pour out in our family like the water from a rock. Despite my rebellion, my kids rebellion, He will always show us His holiness.

Yesappa, Thank You for being the perfect parent. Thank You for providing, even though I’m not always deserving of Your goodness. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for being Holy. Help me look to Your guidance as a mom. Help me to obey You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Numbers 22-25; Luke 1

God is not a man, so he does not lie.

He is not human, so he does not change his mind.

Has he ever spoken and failed to act?

Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Numbers 23:19

From the beginning of creation God began showing man His intentions toward relationship; even after Adam and Eve fell into sin, God never stopped revealing His plan. Through tests of faith, through covenants, through the mouths of prophets and angels, God divulged His promise to bring redemption to all mankind.

I see him, but not here and now.

I perceive him, but far in the distant future.

A star will rise from Jacob;

a scepter will emerge from Israel…Numbers 24:17

 

“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:30-33

Jesus sent to earth to experience life as a man, to live, to love, to feel sad, to feel angry, to taste temptation yet not succumb, to give Himself as a sacrifice, a gift of grace so that I might be forgiven. A Mighty King brought low by choice to win the battle with my enemy forever. The Living God lifted high to bring new life everlasting.

My Savior rescues me with mercy, making me righteous, making me holy. He takes away my fear, so I can fully serve Him, loving Him with all my heart, my soul, my mind. He offers me real freedom and restoration of everything that has been stolen from me. He transforms my thoughts and renews my spirit.

“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,

because he has visited and redeemed his people.

He has sent us a mighty Savior

from the royal line of his servant David,

just as he promised

through his holy prophets long ago.

Now we will be saved from our enemies

and from all who hate us.

He has been merciful to our ancestors

by remembering his sacred covenant—

the covenant he swore with an oath

to our ancestor Abraham.

We have been rescued from our enemies

so we can serve God without fear,

in holiness and righteousness

for as long as we live…” Luke 1:68-75

He makes covenant with me, and nothing I do will ever turn His affection against me. He is always with me, the Light that illuminates my path. He teaches me, molding me, fashioning me into His spotless bride. He gives me wisdom, showers me with love. His presence brings me joy and peace. His Word encourages me; it is the truth that offers hope and strengthens me.

For the word of God will never fail. Luke 1:37

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Deuteronomy 3-4; Mark 11:20-33

Crossing over into new, unchartered territory is no easy thing. There is security in what you know, even if it’s not terribly functional (think Dr.Phil, “How’s that working for you?”). It’s the kindness of God that steadies our knocking knees and encourages us to take those first steps forward.

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord yourself will fight for you. Deuteronomy 3:21

I have an inkling of what the Israelites felt even though my desert wandering has manifested itself in a different form. My desert has been one of holding on tightly to what I know to keep my family and I moving forward. The desert wasn’t a bad place; God called me there, but there’s a new land He is leading me into.  It is a land I don’t know very well. This time, I have to face my fears; I can’t pretend that they don’t exist.

God has been calling me into a new territory of prayer and quietness before him. I squirm when I face the silence. When the answers don’t come in the timing I want, I tell God He’s got this whole thing wrong and needs to perform to meet my wishes. But thankfully,  God invites me to cross over to a new land, a land of trust and knowing that He loves me. He delights in providing abundantly for my deepest needs. He is my Healer and reaches within to touch the broken places. He longs to show me his beauty every day.  He is my Comforter,  the one who calms my restless soul and quiets my fears. Sometimes, I can sense Him saying, “Shush, sleep little one.”

When I am quiet, on the floor and on my knees, my soul opens up to Him. God is not the miserly, temperamental god I made Him out to be and I am no longer the whiny, complaining child.  Christ is who the Word says He is (Colossians 1:15-20) and I am God’s precious child (1John 3:1). The invitation to inhabit this promised land is extended every day, every moment.

For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers which he confirmed to them by oath. Deuteronomy 4:31.

There’s a new land we are called to. Where is God calling you?

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Numbers 24, 25, 26, 27; Mark 8:11-38

And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” Mark 8:16-21

I can see in the natural, even if I do need glasses; but sometimes I don’t always see everything there is to be seen in the spiritual world. I don’t always understand the parables that Jesus spoke to the ancient world (without reading His explanations) and I don’t always appreciate the stories that He speaks into my own life. I don’t always comprehend what He is trying to do in me, what He is trying to teach me. I don’t always perceive His purposes, His heart. I don’t always grasp His goodness, His faithfulness. I don’t always see HIM.

There are times when I am so lost in the temporal, that I lose sight of His glory. I am so distracted by the never-ending needs of my kids, so preoccupied with the demands of work/ministry goals, of keeping the house clean or by getting meals on the table, that I forget the amazing ways that God has moved in my life, even before I was truly a believer. I overlook the miracles He has done through me and the miracles He has done for me. My spiritual-sight is sometimes unfocused. And in those moments, I don’t recognize Jesus in the little things; I cannot see Him clearly through the haze.

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.” Mark 8:27-29

Countless foretellings concerning Jesus were made over the generations before His birth; prophecies meant to help the people be ready for the coming King when He made His entrance. Even the diviner Balaam’s eyes were opened for a fleeting instant by the Spirit of God coming upon him and he “saw” Jesus (Numbers 24: 15, 17-19).

When Jesus did come to earth, many people witnessed His miracles and still couldn’t identify Him. Some people saw Jesus for who He was, is, and is to come with spiritual eyes and recognized He is the Savior, the promised Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One. But, even those followers experienced spiritual blindness at times, unable to see past the literal, into the eternal.

And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:22-25

I have to hold onto the belief that Jesus understands that there are times when I am going to be unseeing, that He continues to offer me grace in spite of my weakness. I have to hold onto the hope that like He did for the blind man, He will lay His hands on me and restore my sight, washing my eyes and allowing me to see clearly.

Yesappa, Thank You for opening my heart to Your sacrifice on the cross, to Your grace and mercy, and inviting me to be Your daughter. Please open my eyes {wider}, so that I am not blinded by temporal distractions, so that I might see You clearly and always remember everything You’ve done and will do in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Numbers 21-23; Mark 7:14-8:10

Balaam is a man with a reputation for being more spiritually attuned than the rest of the crowd. He’s some sort of international, polytheistic diviner sought out by kings,  but does he really know God? It takes a protesting, talking donkey to stop him in his tracks long enough to have his eyes opened by God to see the danger ahead. I need to remember this story next time I get stuck in traffic or behind the slow shopper (with the full basket) who holds up the check out line.

My study Bible indicates that Balaam knew enough about God to report back to Balak what God said, BUT (warning: spoiler alert) not enough to prevent him from offering up sacrifices to false gods or practicing repulsive forms of divination (see Joshua 13:22).  This eventually becomes his undoing. The Pharisees were no less guilty of keeping God at arms length. They were happy to have God make them look acceptable on the outside, but drew the line when it came to allowing God to change them from the inside out. Truth be told, I can be just like Balaam, just like the Pharisees.

So how do I not just know about God, but KNOW Him?  What does it mean to have a “personal relationship” with the almighty  and holy God?  I don’t have a bullet point answer. This I know so far: it means telling God about the wrong within and accepting his grace and forgiveness.  It’s been about falling down and getting back up again. It’s meant extending grace received when it seems impossible.  It’s been about reading the Scriptures and letting them settle down in my soul. It’s meant praying and talking to God, telling Him thank you and praising Him for who He is. It’s meant being still and quiet.

I started on this road over 40 years ago and I feel like I am just beginning to learn what it means to have a “personal relationship” with God.  What has it meant for you?

Klueh

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Numbers 7; Mark 4:21-41

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Mark 4:37-40

More often than I’d like to admit, when in the midst of a crisis my faith wanes. Like the disciples, I become fearful, overwhelmed, and full of anxiety. I begin to feel hopeless. I know in the deep recesses of my brain that Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me, but I can’t always see the calm through the storm. I begin believing the lies of the enemy more than I trust Christ in me. It breaks in over me and negative circumstances fill up my boat like water. I feel like I might drown in the turmoil of the squall; I wonder how I will survive.

My current storm is one I think most mothers (and fathers) experience: the chaotic, all-consuming task of parenting small children while juggling life. I am stress out and exhausted, physically and emotionally.

On top of that, I am struggling with finding ways to keep my children occupied so that I can manage my house, and struggling to keep the to-do list small enough so I can focus on my kids. I am fraught with the frustrations of conquering one task only to find three more tasks have taken its place. I am still shocked at how quickly the girls can demolish a room – laundry I spent the morning folding but didn’t have a chance to get put away strewn across the bedroom , toys littering the play room floor, yet another wall covered in crayon mural (how did she get the crayons off the top shelf anyway!?)…Not to mention the fighting, the biting, the temper tantrums at full blast on and off all day long, the bed time resistance, the climbing all over mommy…Mommy…MOMMY!

This storm frequently feels like more than I can handle. It seems too big and some days, I am slow to remember that God is with me in the boat. I try to manage things by myself, but I am quickly overcome. I don’t feel peace. I don’t experience joy. I struggle to stay afloat. I am terrified. I am anxious. I am angry. I am impatient. I lose control and yell. “Mean mommy” rears her ugly head, producing fear and confusion, and in turn, my behavior becomes a storm for my children.

At times, when I finally do ask Jesus for help, I ask out of fear – “Don’t you care that I am overwhelmed by this storm? Don’t you care that I am afraid of drowning in it? Don’t you see I need help?”

Of course He cares. Of course He sees. He calms the storm and I am given a (temporary) breather.

However, I am learning that when I ask Him for help out of a place of faith, even when I am afraid, the storm is calmed and peace is restored in my home, and also in in my heart. He protects me. He gives me strength. He gives me wisdom. He shows me the best path to take. His love casts out my fear and I am able to lay my head in the cushion of His shoulder and rest, though other storms may come.

 Yesappa, I know you’re always there. Thank You for being with me in the midst of the storms I experience in life. Thank You for casting out fear and replacing anxiety with peace that surpasses understanding. Help me hold onto faith even when I am feeling overwhelmed. Help me trust You in all circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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