Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
I don't usually do the word of the year that I've been reading about people doing. I am always intrigued though by what people pick. Lately I've had a couple words come to my mind and keep being brought forth to my thinking. The words are WRESTLE and SEAL. I've been studying these a bit the last couple days and here are my quick thoughts on it. I do want to keep the word SEAL as a word that I continue to reflect on this year. I know it's not a typical word that I hear mentioned, but there is something in it for me, and I want to find out what the Father is trying to show me.
Most of us know the story of Jacob in Genesis 32:22 where he wrestled with someone until he received the blessing he was hoping for. There are many different ideas on who he wrestled but the Scriptures mention God. One interpretation is that he literally wrestled with God, hence getting the name Israel, which means "one who struggles with God". "Struggles with God" doesn't seem like a positive thing to do. As I studied and as I look at my life and how I walk out my faith, I'm seeing that it is a healthy thing to struggle or wrestle with God.
At one point in the story, Jacob was not going to let go of the person until he received the blessing. When two people wrestle there is always contact of some kind, whether it's their whole body or even just parts like legs, arms, shoulders, etc. Jacob did not allow separation of their bodies until the blessing was received. His wrestling was essentially the SEAL. His wrestling was the seal before the blessing. Future blessing, the promised land, could not be separated from the struggle that they went through to get there. There was struggle before the blessing.
In Job 41:15&16 it says, "Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between." No air can pass through because of the seal. They are tightly together. When two people wrestle they are tightly together. When we wrestle with God, we should be tightly together with Him seeking to know Him more and seeking to understand His Word more. We are so tight with Him that no air can even pass between us. That's the seal. As we wrestle with God a seal forms, never to be broken. It draws us closer to Him. It blocks out germs, evil, and untruths.
Why do we think that we must be confident in the Scriptures and have answers to everything? Wrestling with God in the Word seals us for blessing ahead. Seeking the truth of His Word, wrestling with what it says, with what He's speaking to us that our flesh wants to ignore, is showing our love to Him. Isaiah 8:16 says, "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." I can picture wrestlers getting bound up together as they wrestle. Bind up the testimony. Wrestle with it. Study it. Prove it over and over from one portion to another, and as that happens, the seal that takes place will be the law among His disciples written on their hearts in love.
He wants us to give all of ourselves to Him. If that means wrestling what He's trying to teach us or with what His Word really says, than that's what He wants. He will not stop putting things in front of us until He has all of us. He will not stop pursuing us until He has all of us. He will not stop.
This song has touched me and spoken to me and caused me to pursue my search on what Yahweh wants me to see in this word SEAL. I hope it blesses you and encourages you to give it all to Him. Let Him seal you, so nothing comes between you and the Father. You Won't Relent by Jesus Culture
Friday, November 24, 2017
We all know that there is strength in numbers. What if we actively pursue Him in numbers. Even if it's just within our family? Do husbands and wives pursue God's calling as a couple? Do parents pursue God's calling for their children? Might sound strange, but let me explain. If we see a gift or talent that our children have that can be used for the kingdom, shouldn't we encourage and help them pursue that as a way to minister to others? Instead we let them experience many things, that they choose they want to do, and we bounce around from activity to activity, outside the family unit, with parents separated trying to support each child. Separation. That's what the enemy loves in a family and uses for his purpose. When a family isn't keeping God focused, then it allows the enemy to creep in and steal peace, faith, joy, contentment, a bond, and many other things. Are we pressing toward the mark of the higher calling or pressing toward our own mark? Are we teaching them to press toward the higher calling or their own satisfaction and achievements? I love seeing youth serving together and ministering together. In our family, we've incorporated our gifts into ministry as a family. Some of us do music, give food, send encouraging cards, plan kid's activities, etc. We all work together at serving. We take our children along and be the example of serving in our gifts. This keeps the family together, pressing toward the higher calling and seeing results of our faithfulness to God. Such a greater reward than personal achievements.
We are finding that as we serve alongside our children, we are teaching them respect for others, team work, putting others first, real life pain and struggles that we can help and pray people through, how to serve as one body, putting aside personal beliefs and/or opinions. When we serve together as a couple, we are finding that we are growing together beyond what we imagined. We are finding that the bond of marriage grows stronger, not allowing room for the enemy to creep in. The areas that we longed to be changed in the other, just naturally does because God is our focus, and HE is changing that within us as our relationship with HIM grows.
Our family isn't perfect! We are still learning, being disciplined, growing, and hopefully taking strides forward of making changes for the good. Some things that we've chosen to make a regular part of our lives are:
~Discussing Scripture (even if it's one verse)
~Pray blessings over the children every night
~Encourage open eyes to see who needs help
~Not forgetting the importance of the elderly
~Using gifts to bless others (even when it's uncomfortable)
~Expressing daily what we are thankful for
I want to encourage you to serve together as a family. Decide what you want your family to represent to those around you, then set out to live that way, bringing your children up with hearts focused on serving and loving in that manner. Here are some ways you can do that, teaching, instructing, and serving alongside your spouse and children:
~Make and send cards to the sick or shut ins
~Prepare and deliver food to someone with a health challenge, new parents, or elderly
~Volunteer to watch a single mom's children
~Visit a nursing home
~Help at a homeless shelter or food bank
~Collect coats for a winter coat drive
~Rake leaves for someone
~Shovel snow for someone
~Be friendly to neighbors
~Smile at everyone you make eye contact with
~Pray together for certain needs and watch them be answered
~Walk your neighborhood as a family and pray for those who live in each home
~Talk over the dinner table of ways you served or encouraged that day.
Maybe you can use some of these ideas in your own family or come up with others that fit your family and where you are at in your journey. As Christ followers we can get so complacent in our every day life that we miss the real battle going on for each soul out there. It's real. No matter how much we go to church, read our Bible, pray before every meal and at bedtime, or sing a hymn or chorus in praise, there is still a battle to take over the souls that are doing that. The fight is real. Take it seriously, brothers and sisters. We wrestle not with flesh and blood but against principalities. It takes numbers to fight for each other. It takes intentional living at following God's plan to have victory over sin and darkness. Won't you join us? Won't you step your faith up a notch and get out of your comfort zone to reach the hurting and broken, or to reach those that HE is calling you to reach? Maybe it's the widow next door. Maybe it's the orphan child that lives with grandparents. Maybe it's a couple from church that needs encouragement. Maybe it's the drunkard within your own family. Maybe it's your children that need to have the continued teaching and example of godly living. It doesn't matter who it is! Be warriors and fight the battle with boldness, with His strength, with relentless love for the Almighty, the Creator of all human kind and with love for all people.
Sunday, October 22, 2017
The first and last day of the feast are to be high holy days or a special Sabbath. On the regular Sabbath, the families enjoyed doing their own thing, children played, and we had a long time friend and teacher from Valpo come share a teaching he has done in the past called Moshiach (Messiah) in the Feasts.
We had some random people end up in our camp for some medical needs. We hoped that we were the servants Yahweh needed us to be for them. We had various health issues within camp- poison ivy, blisters from walnut juices, bee stings that kept us all caring for one another and each other's children. Those things bring us together. We had meals together. We played together. We sang together. And we sat around enjoying each other's company, encouragement, and gifts that they could offer during the week.
We each had offerings that were brought to the table that weren't planned ahead. The paramedic in the group was of great help to our group and others in the campground. Different ladies had ointments and oils that came in handy for children and dogs who were in need. Ladies who opened their arms to hold little ones so mamas could shower or prepare food or put other little ones to bed. Knowledge of RVs came in handy for those who needed help. Bringing together the food we had prepared always made for more than enough food for us and others visiting. Even the spilling of popcorn all over the ground resulted in a fun opportunity for the children to see how an accident can be used for the good and as a blessing as they put the kernels from the ground in a paper bowl to cook over the fire. What delight they had as they watched the kernels pop all over the place.
A week of joy. A week of rejoicing. It went too fast. We didn't get everything in we wanted to. But the love and celebrating was filling and hopefully glorifying to our Saviour.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
The rest of the evening continues with food, fun, games, dance, and lots of fellowship. It's all a reminder of when He will return, coming for us, His bride. I want to be ready. I want to be made new, clean and pure for my groom. I rejoice that He will be coming one day for me.
Leviticus 23 speaks of the command to observe this feast.
Matt. 24 speaks of His return.
1 Thess 4 speaks of His return.