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Posted By Nan

15:8-17
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me [unless they are the offering of the heart]? Says the Lord. I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts [without obedience] and I do not delight in the blood of bulls or of lambs or of he goats [without righteousness].” Isaiah 1:11 Amplified Bible.
God want us. He wants all of us. One hundred percent. Wholeheartedly. No conditions. No going back to bury the dead (Luke 9:60). All of us. Willingly.
Just as Cain’s sacrifice, given out of a desire to give what cost the least, to not give his all, was unacceptable. So our less than commitment is unacceptable to God. Not only is it unacceptable, it is highly offensive. Everything about our lives that is not committed to God is offensive to Him.
He will challenge us in those uncommitted areas. He will discipline us. And if we are willing to commit to Him, we will accept that and live. Those who reject His discipline die physically, morally and worst of all, spiritually.
When we live in God, we rest secure in His love. The foolish in contrast know fear and anxiety.
Accept what God gives. Accept His security, even when it seems less than the wealth of the fool. The simple life and the simple meal are worth more because we rest in God’s love than the trappings of the fool and his wealth. Wealth without God is empty, spiritually dead.
Choose life. Choose God.
As the year draws to a close, many are tempted to make New Year Resolutions. Many New Year Resolutions fail by the middle of January. This year, make the resolution to totally commit to God. Wholeheartedly. Through January, February and on to next December. And Recommit then to do the same in the following year.
 

 
Posted By Nan

15:1-7
This section speaks of communication. When communicating with others it is important to use wisdom. Responding to angry words with gentle language will soothe the other person’s anger and allow good communication to ensure. Not so the reaction of the unwise who responds with harshness and anger and inflames the situation.
God gives us knowledge and the wise are keen to learn it. We receive knowledge to use as God commands. When used wisely, knowledge will build others up. The fool despises knowledge and speaks instead foolishness. Remember when communicating with others that God sees everything and we will receive our reward or punishment for what we do.
When the wise speak, she does so with love and healing. These words are the ‘tree of life’ and they bring life to those who hear them, as well as those who speak them. Sadly, the fool speaks deceitfully and uses words that crush the spirit. In the same way, the wise person hears wise words from others and accepts them, making changes where necessary. The fool rejects wisdom and does not learn. When the wise learn they open the way for God to bless them, whereas the fool keeps doing things that destroy self and others.
So the wise person spreads knowledge willingly and delights in her heart at the gift of knowledge. The fool speaks foolishness and her heart is preoccupied with her foolishness.
None of us are totally wise, we all fall into foolishness on occasion. That is being human. But the best thing to aim for is to follow the path of wisdom as much as you can and to know that God is just a plea for help away from helping you to stay on that path.
 

 
Posted By Nan

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:1-4 NIV.


"In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:26-33 NIV.


"Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty (clean), but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests." Proverbs 14:4 NIV.


The strength of the ox allows the ground to be broken. Which allows the seed to be planted where it can grow into the tilled soil. But the strength of the ox has its negative side. The dirt and dust, the animal manure. In order to have hay to fill the manger you must accept the dung that comes from the ox that allows the harvest to grow. In short, you have to put up with a little mess to reap a harvest.
In order to redeem the world, God had to allow the messy into the world of his Son. He who was God. He who was perfect. He had to come into the messy world, full of the dung of sin, in order to reap a harvest and leave us clean.
In this Season of remembering and celebrating God’s great gift of His Son, spare a moment to acknowledge the need for Jesus to come into a world that was unclean in order to make it clean. And reflect on the need for us to accept the messiness and dirtiness of life in order to be made clean, just as Jesus demonstrated to us by coming into the world and living among us.
Praise be to God for His boundless love in giving us the greatest gift, Jesus. A baby in a filthy stable. Laid in a full manger. Raised in a messy world. Walking among us the dirty ones. And loving us enough to die a messy death on a Roman cross.

 

 
Posted By Nan

14:28-35
This section puts our behaviour into the context of society. It starts with the statement that a good leader has people to lead. Without a following, leadership is nothing. And leadership must serve the society, not self.
In living within society we learn the importance of having understanding, which leads to being slow to anger. When we take the time to understand others we are less likely to become angry with them. Note this is the statement we read in James 1:19. Be slow to anger and quick to listen. Because when you listen then you can understand. And the desire to understand is wisdom. And the desire to live in harmony when possible is wise. Our minds have the power to harm society and they have the power to harm self. The envious, jealous, wrathful person rots their bones. The calm person who seeks to understand others has better health.
 As part of our role in society, God warns us that when we oppress the poor we mock and insult God. But when we are kind and merciful to the poor, we honour God. This is repeated in Matthew 25:40,45.
The person with understanding is wise and has hope and confidence in God, even in death. The fool will be brought down by his wicked behaviour and will not experience hope and confidence.
A nation is made greater by its right standing with God. When a nation sins against God it becomes a reproach. So be careful of the political parties you support. They make decisions for the nation. Ask yourself “Does this party support the poor? Does this party support the refugee? Does this party place its hope and confidence in God or in the folly of opinion polls? Is this party led by a good leader? Is he/she followed by the people or does this leader fail to attract wise supporters?”
God gives us a social conscience and demands social injustice from us. Be careful to put that consideration at the forefront of your vote. Ignore the theology of the churches or the wishes of the foolish. Use wisdom in choosing your leaders and make sure your political views are those of God, not your pastor, or you family, or you, but God.
 

 
Posted By Nan

14:26-27
When we love God. Really love Him. And when we worship Him with reverence and holy fear. Never forgetting. Always marvelling at how great He is. Then we will experience great confidence in His greatness and power. In His ability to protect us. In His authority over our life direction. In his authority over all things, including those that seek to harm us.
And we will exude that great confidence. That confidence cannot be hidden. It will burst out of us. Others may not be able to identify it, but they will recognise that confidence as a powerful and desirable serenity. Most importantly, we will teach it to our children. We can’t help but do that.
In that reverence and love for God is the living water Jesus spoke of to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:10,14). When we make Jesus our life, our confidence, our peace, then we receive the living water that gives life. It protects us from seeking the false prophets. From being led astray.
As the Message puts it:
“The fear-of-God is a spring of living water
So you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells.”
Love God. Worship Him. Fear Him. And don’t drink from any poisoned wells. We have everything we need in God through Jesus.
As we approach Christmas and our celebration of God’s patience in sending our saviour at exactly the right time in history. After generations of people had waited for Him. Let us remember God’s patience in the 33 years it took this baby to grow up and experience adulthood. Experience 30 years of life before He even started His ministry. 33 years before He died on the cross as God promised He would. 33 years before He paid for our sin. 33 years before He rose from the dead. 33 years before He ascended to heaven.
Let us remember that in the reverence and fear we find patience. We learn patience. We practise patience. We allow the living water to sustain us as we patiently wait on God. As we wait for His plan for our lives to unfold.
And in that time of waiting, may we learn the most precious gift of all is to sit in reverence and fear at God’s feet.
 

 


 
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Nan
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