Glad River

There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

  • – Psalm 46:4-6

Our Refuge and Strength

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way
and the mountains fall
into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

  • – Psalm 46:1-3

Broken Bread

The Last Supper

After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

  • – Luke 22:17-20 (NIV)

Thanksgiving and Prayer

Paul Writes to Philemon

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all of His holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

– Philemon 1:4-7 (NIV)

Philemon stands out as a leader in the church and a man who loves others, especially those in the faith.  But Paul is about to appeal to him to forgive and welcome Onesimus, now a fellow believer, but apparently Philemon’s escaped slave.  Paul even offers to pay back anything Onesimus may owe Philemon and pleads for Philemon to accept Onesimus now no longer as a slave, but as a brother in Christ.

Thanksgiving Offering

The Fellowship/Thanksgiving Offering

“If they offer it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank offering they are to offer thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with oil, and thick loaves of the finest flour well-kneaded and with oil mixed in. Along with their fellowship offering of thanksgiving they are to present an offering with thick loaves of bread made with yeast. ”

– Leviticus 7:12-13 (NIV)

There seems to be four different kinds of bread, but how exactly they were made, I’m not sure.  Good thing I don’t have to since sacrificial offerings such as these are no longer required.  If they were, I can just see myself asking the priest, or my next door neighbor, or my mom, or whoever, “So, just to be absolutely sure, how many loaves am I supposed to bring? And are the fine flour, kneaded loaves supposed to have yeast, and the thick loaves made with yeast supposed to have olive oil in them? How thick should they be?  And should I make the thin bread in the oven, or is it okay to make it the skillet, and what about fried?  Can I add any other ingredients, like salt or herbs, or is it just the flour and oil?” (etc)

  1. Unleavened thick loaves made with olive oil
  2. Unleavened thin (flat) bread brushed with olive oil
  3. Thick loaves of bread made with fine flour and olive oil and well-kneaded
  4. Thick loaves of bread made with yeast

And because it’s fun to try out new recipes, here’s one I found for an unleavened flat bread (Matzah) that can be made with olive oil.

https://www.alyonascooking.com/unleavened-bread-matzah/

Thanksgiving

The Apostle Paul is Thankful for the Corinthian Christians…and me

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be His holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours.

I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way – with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge – God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

– 1 Corinthians 1: 2, 4-9

Established and Strong

Excerpts from the story of Rehoboam

Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the LORD, the God of their ancestors. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, following the ways of David and Solomon during this time.

– 2 Chronicles 11:16-17

After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD.

– 2 Chronicles 12:1

Rehoboam was the son of the great and wise King Solomon, but he began his reign by following the advice of the young men he hung out with, and the infamous words: “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”  (2 Chron. 10:14)

This did not go over well, and before long Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, is stoned to death by the Israelites, and Rehoboam barely escapes with his life.  This seems to have shaken him up a bit and angered him because in response he quickly musters an army from Judah and Benjamin to go to war against Israel.   He thinks better of it after he hears the word of the LORD from the prophet Shemaiah advising him otherwise.  Instead, he begins a major project of fortifying a number of cities, building up defenses, installing commanders, provisions and weapons in them, and generally strengthening the nation and himself.

In summary, Rehoboam seems to have listened to the Lord when it suited him, but otherwise looked after things himself.  Although, overall, he turned out to be a successful leader in many ways, his life was summed up with the following:

He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD.

  • – 2 Chronicles 13:14

 

Which is Easier?

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?  Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”

  • – Matthew 9:4-6

As a human, it’s typically much easier to say something than to do something. “Easier said than done,” as the saying goes.  Someone may say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ but who has authority to actually forgive sin?  And how could anyone tell if any sins were actually forgiven?  Where’s the proof?  Likewise, someone could say, ‘Get up and walk,’ to a paralyzed person, but it would be pretty obvious whether any getting up and walking actually happened as a result.  Healing a paralyzed man with a few words, Jesus showed His words were more than just words, that He was no ordinary man, and gave credence to his claim to be able to forgive sin.

A Burned Scroll

King Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah’s Scroll

“It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him.  Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes.  Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.”

– Jeremiah 36: 22-25

Around 600 BC, the Lord gave the prophet Jeremiah words of warning for the people of Israel and Judah, to be written on a scroll and read to them.  When the scroll was read to Jehoiakim , who was king of Judah at the time, instead of heeding the warning, he burned the scroll, piece by piece.

When we don’t want to hear that we’ve been doing something wrong, or listen to a warning, what do we do?  We might not be so dramatic as to burn it.  We might not be such a callous, incorrigible rascal as Jehoiakim.   But do we rebel inwardly (or outwardly), ignore them just the same, and continue on our destructive path?